EDHS and Bellview Elementary no longer rank among bottom 5 percent

By: Bria Brown | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published September 13, 2016

 A Leader in Me grant initiative displays puzzle pieces throughout Pleasantview Elementary hallways as positive reinforcements for students.

A Leader in Me grant initiative displays puzzle pieces throughout Pleasantview Elementary hallways as positive reinforcements for students.

Photo provided by Francesca Lucido

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EASTPOINTE — East Detroit High School and Bellview Elementary are no longer listed in the School Reform/Redesign Office’s lowest-performing 5 percent of schools, according to a Sept. 1 press release from East Detroit Public Schools Marketing and Communication Coordinator Francesca Lucido.

“We are proud to share that East Detroit High School and Bellview Elementary are no longer listed in the Bottom 5 percent. This is a result of the hard work of our students, staff, families and in partnership with Macomb Intermediate School District. We have risen to meet the unique needs of our students without help or intervention from the SRO,” Craig Brozowski, President of the district’s Board of Education, stated in the release.

The SRO appointed a CEO to oversee four East Detroit Public Schools buildings previously in the bottom 5 percent — Bellview Elementary, Pleasantview Elementary, Kelly Middle School and East Detroit High School. The school district has challenged the CEO appointment in multiple courts.

Though the high school and Bellview are no longer in the bottom 5 percent, EDPS hasn’t been notified of any changes regarding the CEO appointment, according to Lucido. A representative of the SRO couldn’t be reached for comment by press time.

According to the SRO website, the state superintendent must publish a list identifying the public schools in Michigan determined to be among the lowest-achieving 5 percent of all public schools in the state no later than Sept. 1 each year.

East Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Ryan McLeod said there was more work to do, but the results supported the actions that the district has taken to improve.

“Contrary to the public comments that the SRO has made about East Detroit in an attempt to justify the appointment of a CEO, we continue to have student achievement and growth data that clearly shows our plan and hard work are paying off. We expect this positive trend to continue,” McLeod stated in the Sept. 1 press release.

“We still have more work to do! However, this data not only shows our progress but also supports the idea that our local district, with the local community and county support systems, have the capacity to rapidly improve student learning,” he stated.

In an email response, Bellview Elementary Principal Anthony Sedick said he believed the recent news showed Bellview’s commitment to its students.

“It is my hope that our collective progress reinforces the message that we are striving to turn around the performance of our schools and accelerate our students’ academic achievement rates without additional assistance from the state,” he stated.

“We are committed to building and maintaining positive working relationships with students and parents every day,” he continued. “A key component in maintaining these relationships is in celebrating our successes collectively. Whereas this is a step in the right direction for our school, our staff, and of course our families, our focus remains on improving our performance each and every day moving forward,” he stated. 

“The recent news that Bellview Elementary School has been removed from the list of the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools statewide validates this message,” stated Sedick.

As for the future of Bellview, the school will celebrate its accomplishment, but not for long.

“We are still considered a priority school for the 2016-2017 school year, and we are continuing our commitment to not only improving our performance so that we eliminate our status of a priority school, but to re-establish ourselves as a premier educational option for the families of Eastpointe and the surrounding area,” Sedick stated in the email response.

“In order to achieve this, we will continue our practice of using current student achievement data to inform decisions that are made regarding curriculum, instruction, assessment, and additional supports for all students,” he stated.

A request for comment from a representative of East Detroit High School was not returned by press time.

While East Detroit High School and Bellview Elementary have worked their way out of the bottom 5 percent, there is still work to do for Kelly Middle School and Pleasantview Elementary — two schools that remained in Michigan’s bottom 5 percent.

Kelly Middle School Principal Fran Hobbs stated in an email response that the school faces challenges with a goal in mind.

“The challenges for Kelly Middle School are complicated and the goal is to exceed expectations! We will meet the standard of student achievement growth on state assessments and on (Northwest Evaluation Association)/MAT nationally normed assessments,” stated Hobbs.

According to Hobbs, many students come to Kelly Middle School two or three grade levels behind in reading or math.

“We serve high poverty students and high transiency students. Our plan, which is in place, includes screening and assessing our students as they are registered, and tailoring a student schedule specifically targeting their academic needs by addressing their reading and/or math deficits in targeted classes, supporting their learning in high quality bell-to-bell Tier I instruction. This is our Multi Tiered System of Support (MTSS) Program,” stated Hobbs.

Hobbs also stated the students take responsibility for their educations and the school rewards students for leadership.

“We support pro-social behavior through Positive Behavior intervention Support (PBIS) where our students are rewarded for their leadership behaviors. Our Kelly Crusaders all have goal-setting folders so they take ownership of their learning,” she stated.

KMS is still in the bottom 5 percent, but staff members are taking action to try to work their way out of that designation.
“We have revised our curriculum, and most of our teachers have taken at least 50 hours of training this past summer to support the new curriculum in the core content areas, and high level teaching and learning in the classroom,” she stated. “Our teachers meet weekly in Professional Learning Communities to look at student data and student samples, to support teaching to mastery,” stated Hobbs.
Staff examines other data as well.

“We also examine data on assessments such as NWEA and (Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress), and target learning to meet the individual learning needs of each student in (English language arts), math, science, and social studies,” Hobbs stated.

“Our NWEA scores are rising and we are on the right track with our students to meet the goal of high student achievement. We were identified on the lowest 5 percent list a year ago and have taken giant steps to make large gains in student academics,” stated Hobbs.

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