Michigan ISDs have existed for 50 years

By Curtis Finch MOISD Superintendent This academic year will usher in the 50th year of the existence for the 56 intermediate school districts in Michigan. Formed in 1963 to bring about collaboration and efficiency, their mission hasn’t changed. Although most citizens know about career centers and the impact of special education services, little do they know that almost all of these services are run through ISDs, not local school districts. Since local districts could not afford to set up their own career center or provide each of the specialists needed to meet all the needs of special education students, ISDs became the gatherer and distributor of these services. By local districts sending their students to common locations, efficiencies and expertise were created. Initially, ISDs were set up to be an impartial state system to count students for monetary and calculation purposes. Today, they are correctly viewed by the public as institutions that bring together school districts to form cost-saving systems such as common software platforms, purchasing, business systems and educational continuity with teacher training and curriculum. Because of their unique position in the educational system, ISDs are in position to provide “Leadership, Innovation and Results,” the state-wide theme for ISDs this year. The number one pop song in America in August of 1963 was “My Boyfriend’s Back” by the Angels. Just like that song — which is still playing on “classic” radio stations today — being a pertinent organization 50 years later means you must be providing something valuable to the system. Leadership, innovation and results still are what guides ISDs today. By training the current and next generation of educational teachers and leaders, we provide opportunities for districts to come together. Working together helps spurn innovation and focused discussion about educational results from data. ISDs are often the accountability arm of the state when asked to monitor local, state and federal reports and grants. The Mecosta-Osceola ISD has a storied history of educational service to Mecosta and Osceola counties. To see some of that history, go to
www.moisd.org and click on the “about us” button and select the “MOISD History of Superintendents.” Fifty years is a great accomplishment, but the positive impact on local district teachers, administrators and students is more important to recognize. Thousands of students — special needs, Math/Science/Technology Center, early childhood, regular and career center have been impacted by the MOISD. Now that’s worth celebrating!   Dr. Finch can be reached at cfinch@moisd.org and Twitter at CFinchMOISD.