ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Focusing on Student Data and Community Involvement Are Keys for Local Schools that are "Beating the Odds"

This article originally appeared in the Michigan ASCD monthly online publication, The Source, in May 2011. Additional schools will be sharing their stories throughout the year.

There are real success stories in Michigan school buildings that are considered by some to have traditional barriers to academic achievement, the Michigan Department of Education reports.

Over 100 schools in Michigan are finding ways to overcome the identifiable risk factors to low student achievement, such as low economic status, race and ethnicity, or proficiency with the English language.

"These are schools that are doing remarkable things to help their students achieve, despite the odds being stacked against them," said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan. The Michigan Department of Education conducted two separate studies to identify schools that are "beating the odds." One study identified 63 schools that are performing above their predicted levels, based on risk factors. The second study identified 72 schools that perform better than a comparison group of schools with similar demographics.

Of the 135 schools identified, 20 schools including 18 elementary, one middle, and one high school, beat the odds in light of both studies' criteria and were interviewed and profiled for this release. Six additional schools met both criteria, however were not profiled because they are gifted and talented magnet schools. The schools represent districts from across the spectrum of the state, from large urban districts to suburban and remote rural schools.

Michigan ASCD has invited these schools to share their stories with you. In this first installment in the series, read how Deerfield Elementary School in the Novi Community School District has worked to create a school with soul.

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