Education News from Around the North

BATA, Suttons Bay

readying for school

The Bay Area Transportation Authority has purchased eight of the 11 Suttons Bay school buses (the district is keeping three for special events), and new paint jobs are underway to change them from school bus yellow to "BATA colors."

With the start of the 2010-2011 school year on Sept. 7, BATA is taking over student busing for the district after the board cut busing service (a $600,000 budget line item) and entered into an agreement with BATA to transport its students. Bus routes/pick-up locations for the approximately 400 students are currently posted on BATA's website ( The public transit system is posting the part-time driver positions internally (since BATA drivers are unionized they have first dibs) and externally.

Executive director Tom Menzel says there are "no obstacles we can't overcome," with regard to the public transit system expanding its service to include student busing. He noted that a recent meeting with the local law enforcement regarding safety issues went extremely well.

"This will work if it's a collaborative effort with the parents," says Menzel. He has heard from Superintendent Michael Murray that a few parents have volunteered to ride the routes and there are also discussions about parents sponsoring bus stops.

"It won't be as successful if everything is put on public transportation. It's a shared responsibility between the parents and ourselves. We're doing all we can to ensure a seamless transition. We understand this is being watched around the state and can show how public transportation can work."

TBA Credit Union funds

educator project

Kathleen Arvo, a mathematics teacher at Suttons Bay, is the second recipient of a $5,000 education stimulus grant awarded by TBA Credit Union in Traverse City. The credit union launched the grant program earlier this year to help educators implement projects and programs that might otherwise be cut or overlooked due to budget constraints. TBA Credit Union will award two more grants before the end of the year – for a total of $20,000.

Arvo will use the money to enhance mathematics instruction, with an emphasis on tools that illustrate how skills such as algebra and geometry have real-world applications.

The next grant application deadline is September 30. Educators in any public, private or charter school in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties are eligible for the award. Applications can be downloaded at

Film "boot camp"

Want to be in pictures? Well, maybe consider starting behind the camera first. Local filmmaker Rich Brauer is again offering his "boot camp" style course on becoming a film production assistant at NMC August 9-12.

"You'll learn the basics of working on a set including the players and their roles, 'film speak' (survival vocabulary), basic grip and lighting, and the role of the PA – a little of everything," says Brauer. You'll also get the chance to explore set operations and etiquette and experience the whole process from the director's perspective.

According to the Michigan Film Office, there are a slew of movies being filmed in Michigan and the first major network series will be produced in Detroit for a minimum of six months. You can check out crew opportunities at

It will cost you $395 for the 20-hour, 4-day course. If you're a teacher, you may be eligible for continuing education credits. For more information or to register, visit

Be a LEAN Champion

The Northern Michigan LEAN Learning Consortium was launched in 2008 to improve the global competitiveness of organizations through education in LEAN management practices. Hosted by Northwestern Michigan College, the consortium's LEAN Champion Certification was recently approved for six college credits and can be used toward a NMC degree. The certification is a 96-hour program spread over several months and includes an expectation that participants will complete an improvement project for their organizations.

A new LEAN Manufacturing Champion Certification group is planned to begin in October 2010. For information about this and other LEAN learning opportunities, contact Richard Wolin, Director NMC Training and Research and the northern region of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, at; 995.2003. BN

Smart commuting

to school

Traverse City West Middle School has been awarded a grant through the Michigan Department of Transportation Safe Routes to School Initiative that will help get more students on two wheels or two feet for getting to and from school. Working in partnership with the county road commission, TART Trails and Garfield Township, the school is implementing safety improvements and educational programming – including installing a non-motorized path on Silver Lake Road and starting a student walking and biking club. The project budget is $188,263.00.