Gov. Rick Snyder announces 30 Michigan schools removed from School Reform Office Priority List

Chief Executive Officer will be appointed for East Detroit Schools

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016

LANSING, Mich. - Thirty Michigan schools have made significant progress in improving student achievement and will be removed from the state’s Priority Schools List, Gov. Rick Snyder said today.

Snyder also said the School Reform Office will take action to immediately improve academics for students in the East Detroit School District after years of chronically low student achievement.

The 30 schools being released today, 12 of which are Detroit Public Schools, were among the 88 buildings ranked in the bottom 5 percent in the statewide 2012 Top-To-Bottom Ranking. The schools moving off of the Priority List have met annual goals in reading and math, and tested at least 95 percent of their students. Two schools, Hazel Park High School and Webberville High School, are now ranked in the top fifth of schools in the state, showcasing the ability of programs to quickly improve student performance.

“To ensure the children of Michigan are on a path to success, we must work to be certain the schools we are sending them to provide the education they need to compete for the jobs of the future,” Snyder said. “The 30 schools being taken off of the priority list have made progress and I applaud them for putting in the hard work and making improvements in the classroom.” 

Among the schools identified in 2012, 23 schools have been closed by their districts and 35 have retained their Priority School status.

“The turnaround showed by these 30 schools is a testament to the ability to significantly improve student outcomes in a relatively short amount of time,” said School Reform Officer Natasha Baker. “These schools’ teams developed plans four years ago to boost academics. The teachers, leaders, and kids worked hard and focused on student performance.”

Release from the Priority List is a step in the right direction, but does not end the engagement and focus on improving student achievement. These 30 schools will be required to submit a school improvement plan by Sept. 1, 2016, to the Michigan Department of Education and show continued growth.

A list of all Priority Schools and their status is available here.

Also announced today was the intention to appoint a Chief Executive Officer whose focus will be on academics in partnership with the district to rapidly turn around four schools in the East Detroit School District, as part of the statutory authority granted to the SRO under MCL 380.1280c.

After moving to the Department of Technology, Management and Budget in May 2015, the SRO began analyzing academic data for schools on the Priority List to determine which schools required another level of accountability beyond the oversight that was already taking place.

The selection of a Chief Executive Officer to oversee Bellview Elementary, Pleasantview Elementary, Kelly Middle and East Detroit High schools will be made by the SRO. The Chief Executive Officer, who will have experience in rapid school turnaround, will have full authority over academics along with the responsibility to work with the district superintendent to create lasting change. The selected individual will be held accountable for rapid turnaround by the state School Reform Office, with student achievement reports being submitted and reviewed every six to eight weeks.

The State School Reform/Redesign Office was created in 2010 to establish policies and procedures for turnaround in struggling schools. Gov. Snyder issued an Executive Order in March of 2015 moving the SRO to DTMB to put a renewed focus on this effort, helping turn around the state’s most struggling schools. Per state law, the office focuses on the lowest-performing 5 percent of the state’s schools, with interventions that include a focus on leadership, human capital, performance management, and rigorous instruction.

For more information about the Michigan State School Reform/Redesign Office visit