Two dozen Michigan schools from 21 districts will be newly offered a “Partnership Agreement” with the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) to improve academic performance over the next few years or face additional consequences.
The “partnership agreement” model of addressing schools with low test scores began one year ago to avoid the controversial move of closing down neighborhood schools. This year’s list includes 16 charter schools.
In addition, two districts that were already operating under partnerships with MDE (Detroit and River Rouge) will be asked to add another 16 schools to their agreements – bringing the total number of new partnership schools this year to 40. Fourteen other districts will continue with existing agreements.
Under a Partnership Agreement, each local district remains in control of its schools with support from MDE and community and business partners. Each agreement includes 18- and 36-month accountability timelines when they will be evaluated on the progress toward their goals.
According to an MDE statement announcing the new list of schools being targeted for agreements, “Academic outcomes are a primary focus, and other whole child outcomes that can impede improved academics like health, nutrition, behavior, social/emotional issues also will be addressed.”
Districts on the list have 90 days to come to an agreement or face accountability measures that could include closure. The partnership model was developed as part of Michigan’s ESSA plan in response to a sweeping new federal law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act.
As a result of improving academic achievement, MDE is removing 33 schools from the list of identified Priority Schools from previous years. The “Priority Schools” label stopped being used in 2016.
Under the state’s plan to implement ESSA, struggling schools are now identified as either Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools; Targeted Support and Improvement Schools (TSI); or Additional Targeted Support (ATS) schools.
CSI schools fall under requirements for a partnership agreement. State Superintendent Brian Whiston will be arranging initial Partnership District meetings with the following traditional school districts and Public School Academies (PSA):
- Baldwin Community Schools
- Detroit Delta Prep Academy for Social Justice (PSA) – Detroit
- Detroit Leadership Academy (PSA) – Detroit
- Detroit Public Safety Academy (PSA) – Detroit
- Ecorse Public Schools
- El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz Academy (PSA) – Lansing
- Flint School District
- Frederick Douglass International Academy (PSA) – Oak Park
- GEE Edmonson Academy (PSA) – Detroit
- Genesee STEM Academy (PSA) – Flint
- Grand Rapids Public Schools
- Great Lakes Academy (PSA) – Pontiac
- Joy Preparatory Academy (PSA) – Detroit
- Insight School of Michigan (PSA) – Lansing
- Macomb Montessori Academy (PSA) – Warren
- Muskegon Public Schools
- Pathways Academy (PSA) – Detroit
- Saginaw Preparatory Academy (PSA) – Saginaw
- Sarah J. Webber Media Arts Academy (PSA) – Pontiac
- Southwest Detroit Community School (PSA) – Detroit
- William C. Abney Academy Elementary (PSA) – Grand Rapids