Soon after the pandemic hit, unemployment went up significantly on the east side of Washtenaw County. Student homelessness and food insecurity went up, while any sense of security and stability plummeted. The Ypsilanti Community Schools and its partners responded in short order by creating "The Resiliency Center." YCS superintendent Alena Zachery-Ross joined WEMU's David Fair to discuss the center's impact so far and why the center will likely be with us even after the pandemic is over.
WEMU has partnered with the United Way of Washtenaw County to explore the people, organizations, and institutions creating opportunity and equity in our area. And, as part of this ongoing series, you’ll also hear from the people benefiting and growing from the investments being made in the areas of our community where there are gaps in available services. It is a community voice. It is 'Washtenaw United.'
ABOUT ALENA ZACHERY-ROSS:
Alena Zachery-Ross is currently the Superintendent for Ypsilanti Community Schools. She is the former Superintendent of Okemos Public Schools and Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System, the nation's first self-managed charter school and local k-12 school district: Muskegon Heights Public Schools Academy System. The district is in its fifth year of operation. Mrs. Ross previously served in Van Dyke Public Schools in Warren, Michigan for nine years where she served as an Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, elementary school principal, and middle school principal. As a middle school principal, she began her turnaround career. While under her leadership, the building moved from a grade of “D” high alert to “B” in only 3 short years and made AYP 5 of her 6 years as principal. She has also served as a teacher consultant, school psychologist, and teacher in the Detroit Public Schools. Mrs. Ross is a sought after speaker and professional developer and is currently serving as the Pastor of Lane Memorial CME church in Jackson, MI.
Ypsilanti Community Schools has been funded by UWWC since late 2016, totaling more than $60,0000 invested. Recently, UWWC funded the Equitable Distance Learning Opportunities for Our Most Vulnerable Students in Ypsilanti program, part of the COVID-19 Community Relief fund. Additionally, UWWC invested $28,000 through two programs funded through the State of Michigan Community Relief Fund (MPHI grant), which supported the Resiliency Center for families of YCS students, and Equitable Distance Learning Opportunities.
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