Students in Michigan's lowest performing schools are on the path to increased academic achievement because of Partnership Agreements signed with the state superintendent, State School Reform Office, local intermediate school districts, and local district partners.
Each year, schools in the bottom 5 percent of all public schools in Michigan are identified as Priority Schools and monitored for turnaround in subsequent years. This year, 38 schools that have consistently ranked in the bottom 5 percent and met the criteria set in state law were to be considered for closure.
"After reviewing the schools designated for possible closure because of low student achievement, we found that while something must be done to help students in those schools get the quality of education they need, closing these schools wasn't the best option," Gov. Rick Snyder said.
After Gov. Snyder announced more time and work were needed to assess these schools, State Superintendent Brian Whiston, State School Reform Officer Natasha Baker, and their respective offices worked quickly to devise a plan that would best serve the students and schools.
In April, MDE announced that the state had begun offering Partnership Agreements to the nine school districts with the 38 low-performing schools.
"I appreciate the Governor's confidence in the Partnership Model we've designed, and the local school districts' commitment to bringing in external partners to help move their schools forward," said Whiston. "Every student is too important to have them continue to languish. The Partnership Agreements are rigorous and attainable; locally-developed; and accountable for measurable growth over the next three years and beyond. The partners are committed to making this effort successful."
Under the Partnership Agreements, school districts team with local and state officials, local social services, education experts, and others in their communities to provide schools with needed resources for improvement. The districts will maintain total control over their schools.
Now that agreements have been signed, schools will begin working to improve the learning outcomes for Michigan's students. Under the agreements, districts will have up to 36 months to meet agreed-upon goals. If these goals are not met, the School Reform Office and Michigan Department of Education will take actions necessary to ensure the achievement of students in those schools.