Marquette Area Public Schools – Marquette, Michigan

November 30, 2023

Marquette Area Public Schools

Taking a Holistic Approach to Student Success


Marquette Area Public Schools remains a Beacon of Excellence in Public Education

In the heart of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Marquette Area Public Schools (MAPS) provides a shining example of public education excellence. With an unwavering commitment to holistic   student development , community   partnerships, and infrastructure improvement, the district is committed to the success and well-being of every student.

“Marquette is a flagship in many ways regarding public education in our region,” boasts Superintendent Zack Sedgwick. “We live in a very dynamic community with a history, and a long tradition of success.”

With a mission statement that underscores exemplary staff and rigorous curriculum, Sedgewick   says MAPS leverages every possible resource to meet the academic needs of students. “And now we essentially   taken   the next step with our mission,” he relays, about the district’s new focus on social, emotional, and behavioural learning through its implementation of the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) model. It’s a systematic and research-based approach that leverages every possible resource to meet the diverse needs of students.

“MTSS drives much of what we do, and I think provides for a more sustainable plan, and one that can address what    the gaps are or the where the needs are,” describes Sedgewick.

“Then you can also better monitor your progress through a systemic approach by that data, and then basing your decisions, and how you spend District funds, in a manner that aligns with your short and long-term goals.”

He adds that the district has introduced many resources and curricular supports and tools to monitor progress – particularly in math and literacy. MAPS made a commitment to employ full-time counselors, social workers, and other supports throughout its’ buildings

“We have focused a lot of our energy on math and literacy, especially early literacy since we know that investing in the formative years of our students’ education is going to pay dividends that are paramount in their future success.”

Superior Hills Elementary students in their cap and gowns.

A Robust Fine Arts and Athletics Program

Marquette’s commitment to a well-rounded education extends to its thriving Fine Arts program. From choral, band, and orchestra to industrial and fine art programs, MAPS nurtures artistic talents from elementary to high school levels. The district is also privileged to possess the Kaufman Auditorium, which Sedgewick says is “a gem in the community.”

With a celebrated history of excellence in academics and the arts, Marquette Area Public Schools is also proud of its athletic achievements, which includes 14 different varsity and sub-varsity sports in the fall alone.

“There’s many extracurricular programs if kids are interested in additional opportunities,” Sedgewick notes. “Everything that you would imagine in the fall season: football, soccer, volleyball, cross country, a dynamic mountain biking club We have a lot of diversity in our programming, extracurriculars, the arts, athletics, and beyond.

Skill-Based Learning and Workforce Development

MAPS places a strong emphasis on skill-based learning programs. Partnerships with local businesses and trade programs, as well as initiatives at the middle school and high school levels, ensure students are well-prepared for a variety of careers. STEM and STEAM education are integrated into the curriculum, along with hands-on learning opportunities in subjects ranging from health occupations, building trades, web design, mechanics, etc.

“We have a career tech education programming at the middle school and high school where there’s a lot of hands-on learning which is somewhat unique that we can provide students,” relays Sedgewick.

Additionally, Marquette students have the opportunity to take advantage of the Middle College program, a partnership with MARESA and Northern Michigan University, which allows them to graduate with an associate degree, a significant head start in their chosen careers.

“We have a phenomenal core program that is enriched by many extracurricular opportunities.”

Financial Sustainability and Long-Term Planning

Balancing the budget in a district with over 3,200 students, 430 staff, and 750,000 square feet of buildings is a demanding task, but MAPS manages it with a keen eye for financial sustainability.

Sedgewick states, “We have multiple revenue sources. We have our general fund where we target safety, infrastructure, and programming. We have local sinking fund revenue that generates money that we use for the construction or repair of our buildings. And then we have grants that target certain areas, most notably safety and students considered at risk.

He stresses that safety is always the number one priority, and the district is moving forward on recommendations provided in a recent safety audit. “Some examples would be improved radio systems for better communication in any situation, including an emergency. We’ve made a major investment in security cameras in partnership with Northern Michigan University. At the end of the initiative, we are going to have well over 100 cameras in our buildings. We’re also working on other communication systems, including PA systems for buildings that currently have none.

A variety of infrastructure projects are also underway. “We are working on everything you can imagine from roofs to boilers, mechanical related upgrades, parking lots, interior work that is targeting specific areas in academics, athletics, and fine arts.” Sedgewick highlights.

“We have amazing facilities, and they are pretty unique concerning public schools in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. And I’m always very excited to brag about what we can offer through our unique infrastructure.”

Marquette Senior High School faculty

Attracting and Retaining Staff

Recruiting and retaining talented educators is another area where Marquette Area Public School excels. “We’re very much invested in our staff, and we provide them with a lot of opportunities to improve their trade,” Sedgewick recounts.

It’s not just about the money. It’s also about the culture, the climate, and the programs that we offer here. Because we are quite large and have over 3200 students in our program, we do have the opportunity to embed more unique opportunities that aren’t always available in public education.”

As a community, Marquette, Michigan has much to offer and is a desirable place to call home. Sedgewick depicts the beautiful scenery of the region, which sits on the shores of Lake Superior. The community also has Northern Michigan University and UP Health System which contribute to the quality of life and educational landscape of the area.

He conveys, “Because of the partnership with the local university and other businesses and organizations, we are a destination district for people that are going into the teaching profession, and we are very fortunate that we don’t have nearly the teacher shortage challenges that you see in other areas.”

Community Partnerships and Collaborations

Sedgewick acknowledges that MAPS’ extraordinary success is due not only to its strong partnerships with the university, MARESA, and the hospital system, but also those with local businesses, government entities, and other educational organizations.

He says, “The synergy between MAPS and local industries, trades, and RESA is nothing short of remarkable. We have various businesses that we work with through apprenticeships and internships. It would be hard for me to list all of them because there are so many.”

Looking to the future, Sedgewick emphasizes the intention of Marquette Area Public Schools to continue to provide every child an opportunity to be successful. “We’re also focused specifically on the shared belief that collectively we can positively impact all students. We have a culture and a growth mindset that makes collective efficacy efficiency very conducive to our program, and very much something that comes second nature for our staff,” he maintains.

“That focus on best practice, meeting the needs of students, and partnerships with the community. Our families are very much interested in partnering with the schools to provide their children, our next generation, every opportunity at being successful, that’s what makes Marquette Area Public Schools so unique, so special, and so desirable.”

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Marquette Area Public Schools

What: An innovative school district taking a holistic approach to student success

Where: Marquette, Michigan



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November 2023

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