-Tell Secretary DeVos to check out Dearborn next time 60 minutes calls!

U.S. Secretary of Education Ms. Betsy DeVos may not know where the successful schools in Michigan are located but the students, parents, staff, and independent outside organizations can tell you that the Dearborn Public Schools is where you will find successful teaching and learning.

The story in Dearborn starts with graduation rates*. For the sixth straight year, the district has watched rates climb from 76% in 2011 to an all-time high of 95% in 2017. Hitting the 95% mark makes the District number two in the state when compared to other large districts just behind Rochester Hills at 96%.

The good news about graduation rates continues for students in various sub-groups such as English Learners who have hit the 90% mark for graduation rates. Economically Disadvantaged students are at 93.5%, an 8% increase. African American students in Dearborn increased 15% to 89% and Students with Disabilities have increased by 5%.

“We are excited and encouraged by all of our students being successful and thank our hard working teachers for providing the very best learning experience for their students,” commented Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Glenn Maleyko,

The improved graduation rates are part of a district wide effort that begins with the youngest students in pre-school and kindergarten and extends through the high school years. However, recent success is focused on the district continually looking to be creative in its course offerings, and a commitment to meeting the needs of individual students through the addition of key staff positions such as the Graduation Intervention Specialists. These individuals work directly with students beginning as soon as ninth grade to make sure they are staying on track for graduation.

Providing further evidence of student success in Dearborn is the recent results of two independent reports that show teaching and learning taking place in the almost 21,000 student district is having a positive impact on student achievement.

Bridge Magazine rated the Dearborn Public Schools a 2018 Academic State Champion**. Only 30 school districts statewide, out of more than 500 public school districts, received this honor. Dearborn Public Schools was rated number one in the state in comparison to other large districts. The evaluation was based on a national study that measured academic growth of a student from third to eighth grade. The research also took into account several factors that impact student performance such as socio-economic data, family structure, and family education.

The other report came from the Michigan based nonprofit institute The Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Their evaluation tool is called the Michigan Context and Performance (CAP) Report Card and adjusts standardized test scores to account for student background.

Just a few highlights from the CAP analysis of schools across the state showed that 5 Dearborn schools were ranked among the top 10 schools out of 2,261 Michigan elementary and middle schools included in the 2018 CAP Report Card.2 The Mackinac Center’s CAP report also rated Becker Elementary as the number one school when it comes to long-term performance (calculated using 8 years of data). Earlier this year, Becker Elementary was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U. S. Department of Education, one of only 36 schools in the state and one of only a few hundred in the country to receive this honor.

Looking ahead, the District anxiously awaits the final report from the AdvancED accreditation evaluation team who visited the district in February. The visiting accreditation team reviewed reports, examined evidence, visited a number of schools, and conducted on-site interviews with nearly 200 individuals representing various stakeholder groups. The review takes place every five years and is part of the process to earn accreditation through the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI). Accreditation is a voluntary method of quality assurance where schools, districts, and universities are held to rigorous standards and heightened accountability.

The current Systems Accreditation will expire in June 2018 and the District is looking forward to being granted accreditation for another five-year period. The full report on the accreditation status of the District will be announced later this spring.

“We are proud of our students and celebrate our District’s many accomplishments over the past few years but our work is not done,” Maleyko added. “We must continue to build upon our success and achieve even better results so that all students will have a quality learning experience.”

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*The State of Michigan full report on graduation and drop-out rates can be found at:
https://www.mischooldata.org/DistrictSchoolProfiles/StudentInformation/GraduationDropoutRate2.aspx

**The complete report can be read on the Bridge Magazine website,
http://www.bridgemi.com/talent-education/academic-state-champs-top-10-large-michigan-school-districts-growth.

***The full Mackinaw Center CAP Report Card and a searchable database is available at:
http://www.mackinac.org/archives/2018/s2018-03.pdf

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