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priority schools

East Detroit school and community officials blasted Jensen's appointment in June. They eventually settled on a power-sharing arrangment that limited Jensen's authority.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

An experimental and contentious turnaround effort in the East Detroit Public Schools is coming to an end, as state-appointed CEO Gary Jensen announced Monday he will step down early next month.

The state school reform office appointed Jensen, a former Michigan Principal of the Year, as CEO of four low-performing East Detroit schools last June. The school system is located in Eastpointe, a small suburb just north of Detroit.

He was supposed to have broad powers to make sweeping changes to boost academic performance.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

State officials who announced the potential closure of 38 “priority” schools across the state are now visiting those schools. The schools on this list scored in the bottom 5% on state standardized tests for three consecutive years.

Matt Katzenberger / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It wasn’t one thing that put Litchfield Community Schools’ elementary school on a path to becoming a “priority” school.

When Mary Sitkiewicz started teaching at Litchfield in the mid 1990s, she remembers there being more than 800 students. According to state data from last school year, the student count was down to 248.

bottom of chalkboard, with an eraser and chalk sitting on the ledge
user alkruse24 / Flickr

The Michigan Department of Education released the state’s School Score Cards and the “Top to Bottom” list today. The Top to Bottom list is used by the School Reform Office to identify low-performing schools.

The “Priority List” is made up of the lowest-performing five percent of schools in the state, and schools that were previously in the five percent and haven’t improved enough to get off the list.  Schools on the list for three years could be subject to closure.

kids getting on a school bus
woodleywonderworks / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Summer's almost over, and kids all over Michigan are getting ready for the new school year. This Week In Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth look at the School Reform Office's annual list ranking the state's lowest performing schools. They also talk about the latest in the straight-ticket voting saga and whether third party candidates will affect election outcomes in Michigan.


State releases list of lowest-performing schools

Sep 1, 2016
Brett Levin / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Seven schools have been released from the state’s list of lowest-performing schools. But 124 schools are still on the list.

The Michigan School Reform Office released a list of the bottom five percent of schools based on academic performance today. Thirty-one schools were named "priority schools" for the first time. The rest have been on the list before.

Most of the schools on the list come from Detroit, but the list also includes schools in Benton Harbor, Flint, Grand Rapids, and the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan.

In their report, Mike Wilkinson and Chastity Pratt Dawsey call school choice Detroit's new white flight
flickr user frank juarez / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state board of education wants more input on the fates of Michigan schools deemed “failing.”

That’s what some board members signaled in a statement released this week.

It called on the State School Reform/Redesign Office to work with the Michigan Department of Education “to provide assistance to local districts to succeed at turning around their own schools and to keep the public fully informed of decisions affecting their local schools.”

Kids at a public school in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state ranks schools on a top-to-bottom list each year. Those in the lowest five percent are considered “priority” schools. There were almost 260 priority schools until now, when the state superintendent removed 27 of them from the list. He said the schools had implemented improvement plans successfully since the schools were placed on the list in 2010.