Battle Creek School Superintendent Kim Carter was a guest on the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins as the summer winds down and school is set to start. 

This fall marks year two of a 5-year, $51 million dollar grant to boost Battle Creek Public Schools.  Carter says they've already put a lot into recruitment and retention of teachers, developing curriculum, improving programs and adding student supports.  She says pre-K and Kindergarten through second grade classrooms have a 2-1 student/adult ratio.  This year, Carter says they're looking to scaling up excellence, such as developing high school career pathways.

She says they're planing to open an elementary magnet school that will open next year.

Carter says they have new partnerships with Bronson Battle Creek, Grace Health, KVCC and Grand Valley State to help students with careers.  There's a big effort to create "home grown" teachers, where students stay in Battle Creek and become teachers.

Carter says they are nearly fully staffed and need just six elementary teachers.

She says that chronic absenteeism is a major challenge that they are dealing with this year.  Battle Creek had a rate of 40% of students to be chronically absent at the end of the last school year.   The new initiative will involve the whole community in stressing the importance of going to school and will also have acknowledgement and rewards programs.