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Ypsilanti Community Schools

Ypsilanti Community Schools has a new program to help feed those in need during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Jorge Avellan / WEMU

Have you ever played with a toy, remote-controlled car?  Would you want to do it if the vehicle was the size and weight of the vehicle you drive? And, you were riding in it?  People are doing that right now, right around the corner from you. What they learn may determine our transportation future. By now, you’ve likely heard of the American Center for Mobility. The testing site in Ypsilanti Township once housed the historic Willow Run bomber plant in the World WAR II era.  It later served as home to The General Motors Power Train plant from the 1950’s until it was closed in 2010.  89.1 WEMU’s Jorge Avellan has taken a peak behind the curtain to get a look at what may, one day, be considered history-making technology. 

Lisa Barry

Ernestine Ruben, or "Ernie" as she prefers to be called, toured the Willow Run Industrial Complex a few years ago in Ypsilanti Township and took a series of pictures.  The plant was designed and built by her grandfather, famed architect Albert Kahn.  Those pictures are now on display at the University of Michigan Art Museum in an exhibit called "Mobilizing Memory."

Lisa Barry recently had a chance to tour the exhibit with the 86 year-old artist, and she explains what she was trying to capture.

Lisa Barry

Many of Michigan's top elected officials attended an Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Chamber of Commerce luncheon, where one of the state's US Senators was the keynote speaker.

Ann Arbor SPARK

The former Willow Run Powertrain Plant in Ypsilanti Township will soon be the site of a new autonomous vehicle testing facility. The project took a step forward Friday with the creation of a non-profit to manage the site.


Wikimedia Commons

Preservation activists are hoping for more than a thousand Rosie the Riveters to come to the Willow Run Airport Saturday.  

Willow Run was once home to the plant that built an icon of wartime in the 1940s: the B-24 Liberator bombers.  It's also believed by some to be the birthplace of another U.S. icon, Rosie the Riveter. 

Rosie the Riveters and Female Democrats
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Many of Michigan's top female politicians visited with three original Rosie the Riveter's today at the Yankee Air Museum.  They shared a message of hard work and a desire for equality. 

Willow Run Bomber Plant
Bob Eccles / 89.1 WEMU

A leader of an effort to save a slice of Rosie the Riveter's old Michigan plant says his group soon will sign a purchase agreement for the property.

Willow Run Bomber Plant

Smiling faces abound at the Yankee Air Museum as they are set to clear the first hurdle in saving a portion of the Willow Run bomber plant.  A lot of work however is still needed to achieve their goal.

Tax Credits / Foter.com / CC BY

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education Monday night approved collecting school taxes in the summer rather than in the winter. 

Board President David Bates says summer tax collection is nothing new for district residents. The Ypsilanti and Willow Run districts had been collecting taxes in the summer prior to the consolidation.

Bates says summer tax collection means the district has to borrow less from the state while awaiting state aid payments, which in turn saves taxpayers money because the district is paying less in interest on money borrowed.

We should soon have a better idea of how the Yankee Air Museum is doing in its effort to raise enough money to buy part of the former Willow Run bomber plant for its new home. 

WEMU's Bob Eccles has more.

Bob Eccles

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education Thursday night approved entering into a contract with the state that will allow the district more time to pay off debt and remove Ypsilanti Community Schools from the ranks of Michigan's "deficit districts". 

The district has $18.8 million in state aid notes from the former Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts that are due August 20th.  The state will give the district 13 years to pay off the debt. 

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education will meet tonight in what, technically, is it's first-ever regular session. WEMU's Bob Eccles has more on the agenda before the board tonight.

Bob Eccles

Democratic State Representative David Rutledge and his Republican colleague Bill Rogers addressed the Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education at its organizational meeting Monday morning.  Click below to hear their comments.

YCS Born As Board Members Sworn In

Jul 1, 2013
Bob Eccles

The Ypsilanti Community Schools district was officially born this morning, as the Board of Education held its organizational meeting.

The Oath of Office was administered to trustees by State Representative David Rutledge.

  An organizational meeting this morning wraps up eight months of intense work and preparation for the creation of the Ypsilanti and Willow Run School Districts. Bob Eccles has a preview of today's first-ever session for the new Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education.

Teachers who'll be making the jump from the Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts to Ypsilanti Community Schools have been given their building and grade assignments. 

Willow Run Superintendent Laura Lisiscki says trying to place teachers where they wanted to teach was a daunting task. 

   Bell times, bus scheduling and an academic year calendar are now in place for the Ypsilanti Community School District that  begins its official existence on July 1st. As WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, the decisions were finalized Monday night.


The unified Ypsilanti-Willow Run school board last night talked about proposed bell times, transportation details and a district calendar for Ypsilanti Community Schools.  WEMU's Bob Eccles was there, and filed this report. 

The Unified Ypsilanti-Willow Run school board last night talked about setting guidelines for naming Ypsilanti Community Schools facilities.  WEMU's Bob Eccles reports on the details

Bob Eccles

The process of  unifying the Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts into Ypsilanti Community Schools is rolling along.  The new district is officially "born" on July 1.  WEMU's Bob Eccles spoke with Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Scott Menzel about the unification process, and what's left to do before the end of June.


Ypsilanti Community Schools will have a former National Football League player as its first Athletic Director. 

Lamanzer Williams has approved an offer to assume the position when the district is officially created on July 1st. 

Williams played football with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins, along with the Berlin Thunder in NFL Europe. 

He's a Willow Run High School Hall-of-Fame inductee who has earned degrees from Eastern Michigan University, Concordia Chicago University and Grand Valley State University. 

Bob Eccles

The unified Ypsilanti-Willow Run school board has approved a performance-based compensation system for Ypsilanti Community Schools teachers and principals. 

It’s official – the mascot for Ypsilanti Community Schools is the Grizzlies, and the school colors are black and “Vegas” gold.  

The unified school board Thursday night accepted the recommendation of its Name and Identity Advisory Group. 

A new mascot and colors means buying things like new uniforms and signs.  Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Scott Menzel says that’ll be covered by a six million dollar grant from the state.

Students Choose 'Grizzlies' For YCS Mascot

Apr 24, 2013

Students in the Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts have voted, and it looks like the mascot for the new Ypsilanti Community Schools will be the Grizzlies. 

Students in grades seven through 12 voted, and more than 45 percent chose Grizzlies.  A little over 30 percent liked Trailblazers, and Flyers got less than 20 percent of the vote. 

The unified Willow Run-Ypsilanti school board Thursday night will consider a recommendation from its Name and Identity Advisory Group that it approve Grizzlies as the mascot, along with a black and "Vegas" gold color combination.

The interview process for internal Ypsilanti and Willow Run teacher candidates who want to continue their work with Ypsilanti Community Schools next year is just about over. 

Ypsilanti Education Association President Krista Boyer says Ypsilanti teachers have been notified that all but three of their internal candidates have been interviewed, with the last interviews taking place next week. 

Principals Hired For Ypsilanti Community Schools

Apr 12, 2013

The new unified Ypsilanti and Willow Run school district is expected to hire nine principals, and six of those jobs have now been filled by internal candidates from both districts. 

Nearly two dozen internal candidates applied for the jobs, and some may find other positions with Ypsilanti Community Schools. 

Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Scott Menzel says there are three principal positions yet to fill, and those will likely go to external candidates.

Bob Eccles

The unified Ypsilanti-Willow Run school board has approved black and “Vegas” gold as the colors for Ypsilanti Community Schools. 

That was the recommendation from the board’s Name and Identity Advisory Group, which also suggested the board put three potential mascots up for a student vote: Trailblazers, Grizzlies and Flyers.  

Students in grades seven through 12 will vote on a mascot next week, with the winning choice to be approved by the unified school board at its April 24th meeting.

Consolidated District Sets Schools Configuration

Mar 29, 2013
Bob Eccles

High school students in the new Ypsilanti Community School District will attend Ypsilanti High School next year.  Middle school students will attend classes at what is now Willow Run High School and the adjoining Willow Run Intermediate Learning Center.  Hear more from WEMU's Bob Eccles.

Bob Eccles

This weekend you have the chance to learn more about the Small Learning Communities educational model chosen for middle and high school students in the Ypsilanti Community Schools. 

A public meeting Saturday will also help to determine which school buildings are best suited for Small Learning Communities, and which might not be used next year.

Saturday's meeting runs from ten to noon at Ypsilanti New Tech at Ardis, 2100 Ellsworth Road.