Char-Em ISD operating Round Lake Education Center in Charlevoix with 7th Probate District Court
CHARLEVOIX, October 2023 – Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District and the 7th Probate District Court serving Charlevoix and Emmet Counties have entered into a partnership for operating Round Lake Education Center, located in Charlevoix.
The school was originally established over 20 years ago for school-age, adjudicated youth from Charlevoix County. It is a court-ordered program for high school students involved in the court system. When a need arose for a new educational partner to operate the school earlier this calendar year, Probate Court Judge Valerie Snyder approached Char-Em ISD Superintendent Scott Koziol, inquiring about a partnership that would be modeled after Lakeview High School in Emmet County.
“Court school programming at Round Lake Education center has always been accomplished through a collaboration of efforts by the Probate and Family Court, Charlevoix County, treatment providers for our students, and, of course, an educational partner,” said Snyder. “When the need arose for a new educational partner for our Charlevoix County court school program, Char-Em ISD was our first choice. Both the court and the ISD serve the students of Charlevoix County, and given the ISD’s expertise in education and availability of resources to address the needs of our students, they are a perfect partner for our program. We have also had the benefit of seeing first-hand the great results of the partnership between the ISD and Lakeview Academy, the court’s Emmet County school program.”
Char-Em ISD Superintendent Scott Koziol said the ISD was pleased to consider the partnership with the court and to take the lead with the academic aspects of the program. “Lakeview High School in Petoskey is well-regarded and we knew we could use that as a model for developing Round Lake Education Center,” said Koziol. “We are always interested in doing what we can to support all students in our 2.5-county coverage area and ensure that all are receiving a quality education.”
Round Lake Education Center provides juveniles, under the court’s jurisdiction, with a structured school setting and provides a centralized site from which to administer court programming. The school was designed with the goal of reducing juvenile delinquency and costly out-of-home placement for juveniles, while increasing the number of adjudicated juveniles becoming contributing members of the community.
Students attending RLEC can earn academic credits to transfer back to their home district. Currently, RLEC employs program director Angie Novak, administrative assistant Kat Fortune, and one full-time teacher, David Heinz, with additional support from the court administrator, Tim Smith. Academics are performance based, not based on seat time in the classroom, so credit recovery is an attainable goal.
“Our goal is to provide an environment that supports all Round Lake students in achieving their academic potential, regardless of the barriers they’ve previously encountered,” said Snyder. “Whether a student needs to catch up on credits, requires immediate accountability to attend school regularly, or simply thrives in a smaller school setting, the staff at Round Lake Education Center strives to create a positive environment that builds on individual successes.”
In addition to their formal education, RLEC offers many additional opportunities to support youth development including individual and group counseling, art therapy, life skills groups, physical education, and anger management.
Probation officers and counseling services are available to provide additional support to the students. The court must order a youth to attend Round Lake Education Center; it is not a school where parents may choose to send their children.
About the instructor
David Heinz has been hired as the teacher of Round Lake Education Center. His background includes working with students in alternative education programs in both Calumet and Cheboygan school districts.
“I have been wanting to get back into alternative education for awhile. In talking with my cousin, Don (Heinz, teacher at Crooked Tree High School) about his experiences at Crooked Tree, I knew this position would be a perfect fit for me. I am right where I am supposed to be.”
Heinz said he hopes to provide a safe and comfortable environment for the students, where they have “the opportunity to get back on track and prepare themselves for leaving RLEC and being successful.”
“This is a great building in a great location, with great people working here,” said Heinz. “While we are still learning how to make this program successful, I have no doubt we are headed in the right direction.”