MSU helps state’s lowest-performing schools improve

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Michigan State University helped the state’s lowest performing schools achieve successful gains in the past year, as shown by this week’s release of the Top-to-Bottom Ranking and School Accountability Scorecards.

According to the Michigan Department of Education, more than one-third of Michigan’s 2013 “priority” schools improved enough to be removed from the list of lowest-performing schools, or those in the bottom 5 percent.

Many of those schools received in-depth assistance from MSU, which provides highly trained outreach specialists to all Title I Priority schools as a partner in Michigan’s statewide reform system.

Assistant Dean Barbara Markle, who directs the MSU Office of K-12 Outreach, can share details about the school turnaround model that has successfully improved student achievement. She can be reached at (517) 881-7708 or

We help schools and districts build capacity to improve by really taking a look at what they are currently doing and finding new strategies that can be sustained,” Markle said. “Our focus is on turnaround, not incremental school improvement.”

In partnership with the intermediate school districts, MSU specialists provide on-site support to schools and districts throughout the school year. Participating schools also attend professional development conferences and receive resources through the MI Toolkit website.

Overall, 78 percent of the 122 priority schools that received support from MSU made progress in the past year. In Detroit Public Schools, 19 of the 36 priority schools showed improvement.

“MSU helped us better utilize data to have an impact on not only learning but teaching as well,” said Bilal Tawwab, assistant superintendent at DPS. “Both the university and Wayne RESA have played a strong role in what’s happening in Detroit schools, and we want to continue those efforts.”

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