By Jessica Mathews /

After a two-year, pandemic-related pause; Howell Public Schools Superintendent Erin MacGregor delivered his annual State of the District address this week.

The event was held in the Howell High School Project Lab at the 10-12 campus, where stakeholders were given updates on student growth and various district initiatives, programs, and Capital and Safety Bond projects.

A commitment to “future-ready” students was emphasized, along with the importance of having strong academic core knowledge. MacGregor said they need to be very intentional because kids need rigorous high expectations when it comes to academics, but also essential life skills.

The district is very large geographically and it was stated that buses travel one million miles a year. MacGregor noted that all kids have different stories, and they all have different passions and different paths that they’re on. He acknowledged the significant student needs around mental health today and said they’re proud to have 17 counselors on staff.

It was stated that staffing will continue to be a challenge for K-12 schools as well as everybody else, meaning the district will need to be very explicit about how they’re addressing that. MacGregor noted partnerships with universities and said they’re trying to build the educator pipeline as best they can.

The effects of COVID and student growth were discussed, and it was noted Howell was the first district to return to in-person learning five days a week at the time. MacGregor said they have seen growth rebound but noted they had a starting point impacted by the three-month shutdown.

When it comes to fiscal and operational stewardship, MacGregor said the question will be how to continue to maintain high quality facilities and potentially generate new revenue – which is pretty fixed for public education.

Following MacGregor’s remarks, attendees were invited to a program showcase tour to learn more about four of Howell High School’s career and technical education programs.

The State of the District address can be heard this Sunday at 8:30am on WHMI's Viewpoint program.