By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Edsel Ford High School is no longer considered a priority school by the Michigan School Reform Office.
In 2010, Edsel Ford was in the 79th percentile before dropping off to the bottom 5 percent and then scoring in the 29th percentile in 2014.
Now, new scores from 2015 show the school is ranked in the 75th percentile when compared to schools across the state.
“I am so proud and appreciative of the Edsel Ford administration, faculty, staff, students and parents – we were hit hard – but we kept moving forward,” Edsel Ford Principal Scott Casebolt said.
In order to be released from the list, the school had to meet the exit criteria which includes reaching 95 percent state assessment participation, achieving annual objectives in math and reading or English language arts and ranking above the lowest 5 percent statewide.
The School of Reform Office also added another avenue for schools showing rapid growth. If schools ranked above the 15th percentile two straight years and meet the additional requirements, they were released from priority status before their four-year review period.
Decatur High School, Eisenhower School, Frontier International Academy, Lincoln Senior High School, Madison High School and Vestaburg Community High School where six other schools were released along with Edsel Ford.
Casebolt credited the school’s success to support from master teachers, district resource personnel, central office staff, Board of Education and staff, students, and parents in 2013. Edsel Ford was placed on the state’s list of low achieving schools that year, which was Casebolt’s second as principal at the school.
“Having a school like Edsel Ford labeled as a low achieving school never accurately displayed what was really happening on a day-in and day-out basis at our school,” he said. “From day one, my message to all of the Edsel Ford community was – as bad as it is to be labeled a failing school – we were going to use this as an opportunity to not just escape the priority status, but become a Reward School.”
Improving the climate and culture in the school was a main step in the overall school improvement plan.
“This was critical in creating the necessary environment for quality classroom instruction for every Edsel Ford student,” a DPS press release read. “By working together, the school was able to build a professional learning community that has dramatically improved classroom instruction, student achievement and success for all students.”
Supt. Glenn Maleyko echoed the same during his praise of the high school’s growth.
“The turnaround at Edsel Ford is a tribute to the hard work by the entire school community including administration, instructional staff, non-instructional staff, parents, community members, and especially the students,” he said. “We are very proud of the Edsel Ford community for their commitment to the school and the success of the students.”
Although test scores are not comparable statistically because they come from three different tests taken over the last three years, they do show improvement, according to the district.
“Our district welcomes and will never back away from accountability measures,” Maleyko said “but we will not let the academic performance of our students be judged based on just one measure or measures that are not statically reliable.
“We use several different tools to help us collect data on student achievement and growth but we can never forget that data alone is not the ultimate measure of good teaching and true student growth.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)