Ultimately, Berrien Springs officials want to fundamentally change the way the school district functions. Instead of monitoring the day-to-day operations of every program, the district would serve as a hub, providing timely support for numerous semiautonomous initiatives and programs, such as the Virtual Academy, Alternative Education Center and homeschool partnership.
Bermingham wants to focus on providing “a menu of options for parents.” The district’s goal is to provide high-quality learning opportunities, but to allow parents and students to determine when, where and how they make use of those resources.
District officials warn that the price of innovation is occasional failure. But on the whole, Bermingham believes it’s worth it: “We reinvented ourselves all of a sudden. It’s like that snowball that starts going down the mountain — just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. The more we tried, the more we innovated, [and] the more comfortable we got with innovation.”