Robert and Patricia Muth Excellence in Leadership Award
Springfield Middle School
Battle Creek Public Schools – Jane Berger, principal (2009-2010 school year), Gus Calbert, principal (2010-2011 school year)
Romulus Elementary School
Romulus Community Schools – Marjie McAnally, principal
Hoover Elementary School
Wayne-Westland Community Schools – Jennifer Curry, principal (2009-2010 school year) Jennifer Chambers, principal (2010-2011 school year)
Holmes Elementary School
Willow Run Community Schools – Delores Jenkins, principal
Springfield Middle School is a part of the Battle Creek Public Schools. It serves 356 students in grades six through eight. Three quarters of those students come from low-income households, qualifying them for free or reduced lunch.
Springfield has experienced substantial and meaningful change within the last seven years. The change in the school at first was met with resistance for a variety of reasons. The atmosphere was not conducive to change and a new direction. Leadership was needed in order for the building to transform into an environment where teachers, students and administration worked together to bring about what we envisioned. Springfield Middle School’s Success School started out as a mere idea, which was rooted in a few leaders within the building. With new leadership, the staff began a journey of continuous improvement in order to create not only a positive learning environment, but also a safe atmosphere for the students.
The school leadership team first envisioned Springfield Middle School’s Success School concept after several months of dialogue focused on the wish to provide more positive recognition for successful students. Staff realized that students who were unsuccessful in school often received more recognition than the students who were already successful. The summer after this first dialogue began several staff members attended conferences and began discovering new approaches for adapting Springfield's methods so that more student support and recognition could be incorporated into the school community. These methods included double doses of support classes that would provide more instruction and practice for students with high needs.
In the summer, the leadership team developed the Success School approach – recognition and rewards for students who were being successful already as well as supports and accountability for students and staff who were not experiencing success. Realizing that the concept would not evolve without the synergy born of an all-school effort and common expectations, the leadership team took the idea of Success School to the first August staff meeting. The entire staff responded positively and enthusiastically. Success School became a reality at Springfield Middle School and has continued to evolve with much greater specificity since its inception.
The change has come because the staff are focused on common content achievement goals and the overall success of all students. The teacher concept of what a student is has grown from the object of an isolated teaching experience to a broader view of success from grade level to grade level and through all content areas.
Romulus Elementary School is focused on student achievement with continuous school improvement and has overcome many challenges since the building opened nine years ago. Romulus Elementary school is located in southwestern Michigan in the Romulus Community School District.
The school is one of six elementary schools in Romulus with a student population of 396 students in a K-6 building configuration. Seventy-one percent of the students receive free or reduced lunch and all students are serviced by Title I school-wide programs. Romulus Elementary School also has a forty-eight percent transient student population with less than 20 percent of the sixth grade students having attended kindergarten at the school. This transient population has become a growing concern for the staff. As a result, the school improvement team’s mission is to provide leadership in pedagogical methodology that is scientifically researched based and supports substantial growth both academically and socially for the consistently changing student population.
It is important to note the school’s eight year history in school improvement through its involvement with the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA-CASI). Romulus Elementary received North Central Accreditation in 2001 with a Transition Accreditation Endorsement and continues to strive to maintain its accreditation status.
This year’s MEAP results are an indicator of student success and strong leadership. There has been a significant increase in the number of third and fourth grade students scoring proficient in both reading and math. Additionally, eight percent more of the fifth grade students and six percent more of the sixth grade students scored proficient in reading compared to last year’s MEAP results. These gains support a school that is focused on student achievement.
Romulus Elementary School has not yet reached the pinnacle of success because 100% of the students are not yet scoring proficient in all areas of the MEAP. Therefore, the school improvement team continues to move forward by meeting monthly with its mission being greater achievement for all students. The team reviews student data, researches best practices, integrates opportunities for stakeholder involvement, and promotes professional development opportunities to increase the skills of the staff. Romulus Elementary School is very proud of the accomplishments of their students and the academic gains that they have made. Despite a number of challenges, the school continues to make Adequate Yearly Progress, and for the last seven years the school has consistently received a B-rating based on the State’s Education YES! accountability system. This was accomplished by processing a professional learning community that is focused on the school’s mission of Strength In Learning – Preparing Today’s Child for Tomorrow’s Challenges.
Hoover Elementary is located in southeastern Michigan in the city of Wayne. It is part of the Wayne-Westland Community School District and is one of seventeen elementary schools. Hoover serves approximately 250, grades kindergarten through fifth grade and seventy-one percent of the school’s students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
The principal at Hoover Elementary School continuously displays leadership skills by empowering teachers to become leaders. She has taught the teachers to use research based decision making and data to drive instruction. Teachers now use formative and summative assessments with a targeted focus for student learning. The principal meets with the staff weekly in NCA goal committees, staff meetings or in grade level professional learning communities to discuss current student data, student achievement and teaching practices. Teachers also share a common plan time in order to collaborate with one another on a daily basis.
Teachers at Hoover Elementary School are able to differentiate instruction based on the needs of their students. This past year, Hoover was chosen to be one of five buildings in the district to pilot a Response to Intervention Program (RTI). School wide procedures such as the RTI program are always in the best interest of improving student achievement and classroom instruction.
The staff at Hoover Elementary is motivated and self-directed. They find excitement in new opportunities for professional development and continue with job-embedded and on-going professional development. Through this professional development, the staff at Hoover Elementary use a number of measures to ensure that every Hoover student develops the knowledge and skills needed to meet high academic standards, become lifelong learners, and become contributing members of a global society. The staff consistently uses data from standardized tests, local tests, and district tests to drive classroom instruction. In addition to ongoing analysis, the teachers, principal, and support staff use professional development days to analyze and use data.
Staff members set high expectations for every student and believe every student can learn. Teachers at Hoover Elementary believe that high expectations for student behavior must also be in place, which is why the school is now a Positive Behavior Support (PBS) school.
Hoover Elementary has a dedicated staff and leader that work together for the learning of all students. Hoover parents are also committed to the education of each and every child. Every staff member believes that with hard work and determination anything can happen and every student can learn.
Holmes Elementary School in the Willow Run Community School District serves 297 students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Eighty-two percent of those students come from low-income households and qualify for free or reduced lunch.
The school has a staff of dedicated and hardworking professionals who work diligently to serve and educate a diverse student population. The Willow Run Community School District is working hard to recover from financial difficulties while still providing a safe and stable environment for children. Holmes Elementary embodies everything that is positive about these ongoing efforts to improve the district and has succeeded in spite of the numerous challenges we face.
A group of dedicated staff members work as a professional learning community to analyze data from formal assessments and use the information to enhance and improve instruction. This Leadership Team has spent countless hours at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District learning how to implement real and focused professional development that would lead to improved student performance.
Another professional learning group participates in a cohort in conjunction with the University of Michigan to inform instruction in mathematics. These bi-weekly meetings are essential in preparing staff to truly understand how children learn mathematics and how best to engage them in a real-world content that connects their learning to their lives.
The results of such intense and specific professional development and leadership are visible in the students’ achievement on the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP). The students scored above the state average on the fourth grade mathematics test for the first time in several years. The third, fifth and sixth grade scores were several points higher than the district average.