Partnering together to meet kids needs



I am often asked “Why do schools partner with you, aren’t you their competition?”  I am sure our partner school superintendents get that same question also.  The answer our superintendents often say is “If Success VLC was in competition with us, why would we renew our partnership with Success VLC year after year, let me give you the facts”.  

The facts are that we are blessed to work with Superintendents that are true educators and leaders in their community.  They see us as a safety net so together, with their own continuum of programs, we fill the need of all students in our cities and towns.  

We all know that most underserved youth do not move and follow jobs to other States, most continue to live in the communities they were raised in.  The leadership in our partner schools, their boards, and community leaders have said lets ensure all students receive the skills they need to succeed and become contributors to our community and our country.  These leaders are more concerned about the students, their families, and their community, than just how much a student is worth in funding.  I am so proud of that forward thinking as it is becoming uncommon.  The schools we partner with are incredible as we don’t partner together unless we get a 7-0 board vote.  EVERY partner school board and administration truly believes in being “Difference Makers” in the lives of their community’s youth and have stepped up to prove it.  I feel so honored to serve them as we serve the students.

There are many schools out there that have juniors and seniors with 3 of their 21 required credits and one must know these students won’t return for another 2 years after their class graduates and become super-super- seniors.  (Students that return after graduation to earn a few credits are often called “super seniors”.  I have never heard of a student returning for 2 years after their cohort class graduates- have you?

How many parents would want a 21 year old in class with their 14 year old freshman also if they did want to stay?  Many kids who are 19-20 years old have jobs to support families and can’t stay in a traditional school based on time of day.  So why are some schools not sitting down with these students and looking at other options, why take the State money for another 2 years if they know there isn’t enough time to take enough classes to earn a diploma?  Some say the answer is just having the students take a full day of classes then take online classes at night.  IF the students could do this they wouldn’t have so few credits already.  These students need intensive interventions with one on one support.  Teacher caseloads of a third of what they currently have.  That is what Success VLC does.  We also have a full staff of Special Education Teachers and Social Workers who travel to student’s homes for the needed non-academic support.  Please stop in to one of our centers and see how we are reimagining education while hitting that same standards and benchmarks required by all schools.

The facts are that we don’t take funding away from local communities as we have centers in each community staffed with Michigan Highly Qualified Certified Teachers that are in the centers daily to support and give the one on one tutoring many of our students need after being out of school for a while. The results of mastery based, sequential (one class at a time to concentrate on) learning speak for themselves.  In the last 2 years of SAT testing our students, many who have been out of school for a while, have scored higher than most alternative schools and higher than many traditional high schools.  Our students scored at that same high level for the 3 years before that on the ACT.  By serving the underserved youth we become the safety net that our partners are proud to have in place because they can now serve these students and do it without additional cost or loss of funding.

This short 3 minute video from our students shows you how incredible these students are and how worthwhile the work our team partnering with other local school teams is.


I like the new Partnership Model that MDE created to help support schools as it harnesses the strengths of many stakeholders all with the same goal of improving the lives of our young men and women through education.  I’m signing on to help Michigan become a top 10 in 10 State in education as I believe we can to it by working together- come join me! 

Ps. Ps. If you send me your email and I will add you to the newsletter and also please share your ideas to help as its going to take all of us, each with great ideas and ways of implementation, to help us get there….

Dallas Bell
M: (616) 232-3322

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