On January 20, 2017, I received a call from the School Reform Office (SRO), stating that Davis Elementary School was one of seventy-nine schools in the state released from Priority Schools Status!
“For the first time in the history of the SRO, more schools are being released from Priority School status than are being identified,” School Reform Officer Natasha Baker stated. “It is our mission to turn Priority Schools into the highest performing schools in the state. We do this through academic accountability because every child – regardless of their demographics -- deserves access to quality educational opportunities. When kids are well educated, they can go to college or access a high-wage job or career after high school.”
In a letter from the SRO, “Schools in the bottom 5 percent of all public schools in Michigan are identified as Priority Schools each year and are monitored by the SRO throughout the year. Schools are able to exit Priority School status if they meet the three exit criteria after four years of implementing their redesign plans. State law requires that schools identified in the bottom 5 percent write plans and receive support services. The SRO’s vision is for every kid in Michigan to have access to a globally competitive education.”
We are very proud of the accomplishments our district has made this past year. Earlier this school year, the High School was also released from the Priority Schools list! Student achievement is on the rise and everyone has worked hard to support the learning and growth of all our students. Our accomplishments, however, go far beyond test scores. We are a proud district with an outstanding staff that strives for continued excellence in the classroom. We care about our students and families and will continue to improve toward providing educational opportunities that are tops in the state. I couldn't be prouder of our students, parents, administration, school board, and staff and I look forward to great things to come!
Decatur High School is off the Priority Schools List!
Each school in Michigan is required to test students using the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or M-STEP. The results of these tests, as well as participation on the tests are used to determine whether our school is meeting Michigan School Proficiency Targets and where it ranks in a "Top to Bottom" list of schools and their performance. As a result of this ranking in a "Top to Bottom" list of schools and their performance, a low achieving school may be identified as a Priority or Focus School. Three years ago, Decatur High School was placed on the priority schools list. Required improvements to our instructional process were mandated.
I am happy to announce that Decatur High School has been released from Priority School status! To exit Priority School status, schools must meet three exit criteria – reaching 95 percent state assessment participation, achieving annual measurable objectives in mathematics and reading/ELA, and ranking above the lowest 5 percent of schools statewide. The leadership and focus of the teachers and administration have positively impacted student achievement and led to rankings of 37 in 2014 and 57 in 2015!
The Michigan School Reform Office announced that only seven schools in the state were taken off the Priority School List after meeting exit criteria and showing significant and rapid turnaround in student outcomes. The seven schools released - Decatur, Edsel Ford, Lincoln, Madison and Vestaburg Community high schools, along with Frontier International Academy and Eisenhower School - demonstrated significant and sustained improvement including two cycles ranking above the 15th percentile in the state’s Top-to-Bottom list. Decatur and Frontier are now ranked above the 50th percentile. “These seven schools provide a great example of how some tough and thoughtful decisions by local leaders can lead to rapid turnaround in academic performance,” said School Reform Officer Natasha Baker. “It is our goal to assist school leaders in their turnaround efforts and reward them when rapid and sustained improvement is achieved. Our research has shown that schools who sustain two years above the 15th percentile are not likely to return to the bottom 5 percent.”
We are proud of the improvements in student achievement made at Decatur High School these last few years. In order to keep moving in the right direction, the school will continue the hard-work of school improvement to assure that our students are receiving the best education possible! To discuss this information further, please me at 423-6800. Thank you.
Here's an update on the 2015 Refunding Bonds for Decatur Public Schools. After several months (beginning September 2014) of meetings with bond council, S & P, our bond underwriters and financial advisors, the bonds were priced on January 15, 2015. The bond issue was sole managed/underwritten by William Blair & Company of Southfield, MI and Chicago, IL. Stauder, Barch & Associates served as Financial Advisor and Thrun Law Firm as Bond Counsel. The District's timing into the bond markets was excellent as rates continued to decrease from the time of the School Board authorizing refunding resolution on November 17, 2014 to pricing day on January 15, 2015. Due to this decrease in interest rates, the Decatur Public Schools was able to generate a total savings of $1,176,404 for taxpayers over the life of the 14 year refunding loan! The Decatur Public Schools was able to replace an outstanding debt which had an average outstanding coupon rate of 4.37% with new debt that had an average interest rate cost of 2.62%, inclusive of all fees and costs of issuance. On Thursday, February 12, 2015, the financing of Decatur Public Schools Refunding Bonds was completed. We greatly appreciate the support of the Decatur Public Schools Board of Education during this process. Their patience and dedication to the school and the community should not be overlooked.
When it comes to educating children, parents have several options. When you think of providing the best education for your child, think of Decatur Public Schools. Here's what we offer:
All our teachers are highly qualified and provide outstanding instruction for all learners with a strong emphasis on building the literacy skills of all students.
The Middle School has received the label of Reward School from the Michigan Department of Education!
Beautiful facilities, all rooms air-conditioned!
We are technology driven with Smart Boards in all classrooms.
We have the best athletic facilities with our sports teams winning district, regional, and state championships.
We provide Advanced Placement courses and dual enrollment for our students to receive college credit while in high school.
Online courses are provided for our students through our Seat Time Waiver Program.
Daily academic intervention periods and after-school tutoring are provided to support struggling students in core-courses.
We also provide outstanding enrichment opportunities for our high achievers.
An award-winning band program and outstanding power-lifting program consistently producing state qualifiers and state champions.
Our Science Olympiad program qualified for the state finals last year.
An onsite Great Start Readiness Program operates for our four year olds.
Art, computer, PE, library and music are taught in all the elementary school classrooms.
The average class size is 25 and we have full time counselors who work with our students each day.
Theater and drama opportunities for all ages.
Why Decatur Public Schools? Because your child deserves the very best education. Visit our webpage at www.raiderpride.org or call us at 423-6800.