Seven School districts are Set to Develop Partnership Agreements Alongside the Michigan Department of Education

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is working to set and maintain a consistent standard for districts across the state through Partnership Agreements. This partnership model works to support struggling school districts by providing them access to avenues of support to create strategic plans for improvement.

Seven districts were identified for Partnership District discussions based on having been previously identified as Priority Schools that continue to lag in their percent-proficient scores, in math and English language arts, on the Spring M-STEP test; the district’s percent proficiency in math and English language arts declined at the district level. 

“These will be positive yet pressing conversations with the leaders of these districts to get their struggling schools back on track,” said State Superintendent Brian Whiston. “We want to provide as many local and state-level partners as possible to help students in these schools be successful.” 

Meetings with Battle Creek Public Schools; Lansing Public Schools; Wayne-Westland Community Schools; American International Academy; David Ellis Academy-Elementary; Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies-Elementary; and Mildred C. Wells Preparatory Academy are set to start work toward a solution.

Currently, there are nine Partnership Districts in Michigan. Four of those districts will have additional schools added to their Partnership Agreements. Districts can include schools as the program progresses based on need. Benton Harbor Area Schools, Detroit Public Schools Community District, the Pontiac City School District and Saginaw City School District will be adding a total of 27 schools to their current Partnership Agreements.

The effectiveness of this program has already been proven through schools that have successfully completed their plans for improvement and saw reflective results. Because of improving academic achievement, MDE has removed 32 schools from the list of identified Priority Schools from previous years. Through the diligent work of the educators and students in those schools, test scores have improved and are expected to continue their positive trends. 

“It’s encouraging to see schools identifying the needs of their teachers and students, developing strategies to address those needs and showing progress,” said Whiston. “There still is work to do, and I commend their commitment and tenacity to keep improving.” 

Next Steps 

Under a Partnership Agreement, the local district remains in total control of its schools with support from MDE and partners. Each agreement includes 18- and 36-month accountability timelines, and they will be evaluated on the progress toward their goals. 

“This has been a remarkable experience with the current Partnership Districts and helping them to start implementing their improvement strategies,” Whiston said. “We look forward to working with the seven new districts to help them build their Partnership Agreements.” 

MDE will provide resources for the districts to utilize in identifying their needs and a plan to improve: needs-assessment tools, evidence-based practices, draft Partnership Agreement, lists of potential partners and contact information. The districts have 90 days to reach an agreement. If no agreement is reached, the next level of accountability would be implemented. 

With multiple partners – including local board members, the intermediate school district, education organizations, business, community members, parents, higher education organizations, foundations – committing to being actively engaged, work will ensue to identify a plan of supports and interventions that will improve student outcomes. 

With access to support and needed resources that can be used to drive improvement districts can work to make the adjustments needed to help students and teachers achieve at higher level. 

New Partnership Districts

American International Academy-Elementary

Battle Creek Public Schools

  • Ann J. Kellogg School
  • Northwestern Middle School
  • Verona Elementary (Optional)

David Ellis Academy

Henry Ford Academy: School of Creative
Studies-Elementary

Lansing Public Schools

  • Attwood School
  • J.W. Sexton High School
  • Gardner Academy (Optional)
  • North School (Optional)
  • Woodcreek Achievement Center (Optional)

Mildred C. Wells Preparatory Academy

Wayne-Westland Community School District

  • Hoover Elementary School

Schools Exiting Priority School Status

Arenac Eastern School District

  • Arenac Eastern High School

Battle Creek Montessori Academy

Battle Creek Public Schools

  • Post Franklin School

Bay City School District

  • MacGregor Elementary

Bear Lake Schools

  • Bear Lake High School

Benzie County Central Schools

  • Betsie Valley School

Carney-Nadeau Public Schools

  • Carney-Nadeau School

Cesar Chavez Academy-Elementary

Clintondale Community Schools

  • Charles C. McGlinnen School
  • Robbie Hall Parker School

Detroit Leadership Academy-Elementary

Detroit Public Schools Community District

  • Cooke Elementary
  • Western International High School

Francis Reh Public School Academy

Grand Rapids Public Schools

  • Coit Arts Academy
  • Dickenson School

Hale Area Schools

  • Hale High School

Jackson Public Schools

  • McCulloch School

Kalamazoo Public Schools

  • Northeastern Elementary
  • Northglade Montessori School

Lansing Public School District

  • Cavanaugh School
  • Willow School

Mount Clemens Community School District

  • Seminole Academy

Muskegon, Public Schools of the City of

  • Marquette Elementary

Oak Park, School District of the City of

  • Key Elementary
  • Pepper Elementary

Plymouth-Canton Community Schools

  • Starkweather Academy at Fiegel

Port Huron Area School District

  • Woodrow Wilson Elementary

The James and Grace Lee Boggs School

Washington-Parks Academy

  • Lincoln-King Academy

Wayne-Westland Community School District

  • Alexander Hamilton Elementary
  • David Hicks School
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