Superintendent's Notes

Working together to impact wellness


The results of our own local ACES survey are in and they indicate a higher than average percentage of our community members have suffered from Adverse Childhood Experiences or traumatic events like abuse or neglect. This is important because research shows that things that happen during childhood impact the health and social problems in our community. The ACES Muskegon Community Report includes a summary of the survey results, highlights of a recent student health risk behaviors survey (MiPhy), and an overview of what is being done to address the needs in our community. I urge you to take few minutes to review this important report.

The good news is that collecting and reporting this data helps make us a more “trauma informed community.” Together we can support and help each other to overcome challenges and become more resilient. One resilience building step we took recently was to work with HealthWest and Montague Area Public Schools to offer a Student Support Summit. The summit attracted over 300 people who spent the day learning how to identify and answer our students’ silent cries for help through practical, current, and informed discussions led by local, state, and national experts. The feedback was extremely positive and HealthWest, Montague Area Public Schools, and my staff have plans in the works for future events like it.

Another important step is the MAISD’s work with many public agencies on a Systems of Care Grant for our county. Several of our school districts have applied for this grant that will provide mental health supports and address overall behavior goals. Three districts will soon be selected to begin the program which will be expanded to others in the future.

We are also working closely with community partners to plan events for Resilience Month in January. Of special interest are the Paper Tigers Community Screening at Orchard View High School Auditorium from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on January 11, and the Resilience Community Screening from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. on January 25 at the Muskegon Museum or Art. Please consider attending one or both.

In closing, congratulations to Oakridge Public Schools upon the announcement of a $100,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to develop and implement integrated oral health services at the Oakridge Teen Health Center and support care teams that include primary care, behavioral health and dental providers. This is one more extraordinary benefit for the Oakridge community as they recently opened their Delta Dental Care Clinic within their Teen Health Center operated by Hackley Community Care.

Strong community partnerships like this prove that we are not in this alone. The needs are great, but so are we when we work together to serve children and families.


severson signature PNG
Dr. John Severson
Muskegon Area ISD Superintendent