State Board of Education members visit Harms to celebrate school’s success as a “Beating the Odds School” and “Reward School”

State Board of Education members paid a special visit to Harms Elementary School on Thursday, May 16 to celebrate the school’s success as a Beating the Odds School and Reward School.

Kathleen Straus and Daniel Varner of the Michigan Department of Education attended the final Parent Meeting of the year, where they congratulated Harms’ staff and students, and presented an Award for Academic Achievement to Principal Karen White. More than 150 parents and community supporters attended the event.

The school also provided a translator for Spanish-speaking parents to enjoy the awards presentation.

Bates Academy, Cass Tech High School, Chrysler Elementary, Harms Elementary, Kettering West Wing and Ludington Magnet Middle School were among the Michigan Department of Education’s “Beating the Odds” Schools announced on November 20, 2012.

According to MDE, based on traditional risk factors to student achievement, BTO schools either outperform their expected ranking or outperform similarly-situated schools. The schools were also designated as Reward Schools.

The Reward School designation is part of Michigan’s comprehensive, new accountability system authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility Request approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

In addition to being publicly recognized for their achievement, Reward Schools will have opportunities to highlight their promising practices at state and local events for educators and the Michigan Department of Education is seeking other supports for Reward Schools such as increased flexibility in the use of federal funds and corporate or philanthropic support.

The Michigan Department of Education surveyed all BTO schools regarding which factors contributed to their success.

Top factors were:

  • Highly effective and committed school staff
  • A culture of high expectations for students
  • Use of data to inform decisions
  • Strong district and school leadership
  • Implementing a system of tiered interventions
  • Additional tutoring or targeted assistance for students
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