Helping Flint Kids ThriveFlint Center For Educational Excellence


Thriving Schools. Thriving Families. Thriving Communities. Thriving Kids. These components make up the core of the new Flint Center for Educational Excellence. And Ja’Nel Jamerson EdD,  Executive Director, is working hard to help kids in Flint thrive. The Center, which is expected to be up and running in July, leads and coordinates six cooperative efforts, according to Jamerson. The Center supports two sites and has a partnership with GISD. “We want to make sure Flint kids have access to the highest quality education available,” he says.

The cooperative efforts of Flint Center for Educational Excellence include:  Community Education Initiative, Afterschool Programming, Flint Early Childhood Collaborative, Parent Collaborative, Community Council on Education and  Network for School Excellence.

Flint Center for Educational Excellence will eventually become a standalone nonprofit, says Jamerson. Currently, the organization is funded primarily by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The Community Foundation of Greater Flint (CFGF) is the fiscal sponsor (until it becomes a primary nonprofit organization) and the staff are employees of the CFGF. Their primary location is in the Rowe building in Downtown Flint.


Early childhood education is a cornerstone of the FCEE programming.


Flint Center for Educational Excellence is operated by ten dedicated people who possess the expertise and experience necessary to implement and drive the programs, research and advocacy that are core to the mission of the organization.

Jamerson was born and raised in Flint. “I’m a Flint kid,” he shares. “This is my home.” He attended schools in Flint – Lawndale Elementary, Longfellow Middle School and Southwestern High School. He obtained both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at University of Michigan-Flint. Jamerson holds a doctorate degree in education. Previously Executive Director of Educare, he also served as the Executive Director of the Center as part of his work at the CFGF, where he is vice president for policy and P-20 partnerships. He is thrilled to continue his work educating Flint kids.

According to Jamerson, the Center’s programs and initiatives work together to improve academic outcomes and well-being for Flint kids. “They are closely aligned to better serve students, parents, caregivers and families,” he reports.

This is a school-based holistic approach to supporting students and families with academic, enrichment, recreational, health and other programs and services.

Flint Center of Educational Excellence will provide out-of-school-time activities and programs for students. According to Jamerson, afterschool programming was previously supported through the Flint & Genesee Group’s Youth Quest. “We are working very closely with the Flint & Genesee Group and with the Crim Fitness Foundation to ensure a smooth transition,” Jamerson states.

The Flint Early Childhood Collaborative supports best practices in early learning at Cummings Great Expectations and Educare Flint in partnership with the Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD), according to Jamerson. The intent is to build a seamless system from birth into the K-12 system that works better for kids, families and schools. “This is very characteristic of Flint,” says the executive director. “Flint has always had strong early childhood education.”


The FCEE is engaging a broad cross-section of community members and local educators to create a Community Council and Network for School Excellence.


“This is the one I am most excited about,” Jamerson says. The Parent Collaborative builds on existing avenues for engagement, creating opportunities for greater involvement and advocacy. The group will be composed of parents who share the desire to improve the education system for Flint kids, regardless of where they attend school. This is specifically designed to engage parents to use their experiences and voice to shine a light on the issues and the opportunities impacting Flint kids. There will be a number of engagements and listening sessions where parents can talk about what matters to them about their future. “Parents are the ones who interact the most with their kids,” Jamerson notes. “Parents are the most important advocates for their kids. We hope to make the ‘kitchen table’ a platform for change. We want parents and their kids to have authentic conversations.”

This is a new initiative to engage the community in education, which will launch this summer. It will bring together a broad set of stakeholders interested in bolstering the educational landscape in Flint. The Center is looking for a very diverse group of adults to become part of the discussion, including family members, caregivers, any adult who plays a role in the lives of the kids. According to Jamerson, Flint kids are attending schools all around Genesee County – private schools, charter schools, etc. “This is an opportunity to make sure we are all marching in the same direction and have the same goals,” he says. “We are really excited to engage a broad cross-section of community members through the Community Council.”

The goal of the Network for School Excellence is to engage local educators  to work together to improve educational outcomes and to be innovative about how they can positively impact Flint kids. Each participating school will serve a significant number of Flint kids who are economically disadvantaged and are Black or Latino.

School leaders will commit to tracking and sharing student data and to working together on shared interests to improve the educational environment, such as reduced class sizes, reading proficiency, leadership pipelines, etc. “Through the Network, we hope to connect local elementary educators with national and technical assistance providers to review data and develop a plan,” says Jamerson. Grant funding from the Mott Foundation will help schools that are in the network to develop and implement the plans.

“Our goal is to bring together strategic focus, collaboration and commitment to excellence for the sole purpose of advancing outcomes for Flint kids,” the executive director notes. “When kids thrive, communities thrive. I’m excited to see highly dedicated educators combine their expertise to drive programs, research and advocacy that will give Flint kids the best opportunities to thrive on the paths they choose.”


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