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State Announces 2010-11 Schools "Beating the Odds"

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Communications (517) 241-4395
Agency: Education

November 8, 2011
The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) today released a list of 123 "Beating the Odds" schools who are outperforming schools with similar risk factors and demographic composition. These schools were identified by the Department through two separate studies using considerably different methodologies.

"We have good things happening in Michigan schools," said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan. "These Beating the Odds schools are helping students make progress and finding ways to overcome traditional barriers to academic achievement."

The Department conducted two separate studies to identify schools that are "Beating the Odds." Study 1 identified 60 schools that are performing above their predicted levels, based on risk factors such as percent economically disadvantaged; percent students with disabilities; percent English language learners; and percent minority students. Study 2 identified 83 schools that perform better than a comparison group of schools with similar demographics.

This year's list differs from the list of 2009-2010 schools beating the odds published earlier this year in two ways: (1) this list is based on 2010-11 school year data while the list previously published was based on the previous year's data, and (2) the outcome used in this year's list has been improved. Last year's list was based solely on percents proficient in each tested subject. This year's list is based on a school's ranking on the top to bottom list, which includes school-wide improvement rates and achievement gaps in addition to achievement levels.

Of the 123 schools identified, 20 schools meet both study criteria including 15 elementary, two K-8, two middle and one high school. All 20 schools were interviewed and profiled by the department.

"Beating the Odds" schools credited various factors for their success including strong building leadership; common vision; highly qualified and dedicated staff; high academic and behavioral expectations; a collaborative school culture; commitment to technology; strong community and parent involvement; and staff commitment to do whatever it takes to help students succeed.

"Beating the Odds schools have found ways to work smarter and harder, not just harder," Flanagan said. "They have good leaders, knowledgeable and prepared teachers who engage students and a commitment to involve and embrace parents and the community."

Flanagan said that while there is no single factor to school success, there are common themes worth studying. "I encourage all educators to explore what similar Beating the Odds schools are doing and, when appropriate, replicate what will work in their buildings," said Flanagan.

The Beating the Odds school information is part of the Michigan Department of Education's continuing commitment to bring "Light of Day" to school data and information to help improve elementary and secondary education.

For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/beatingtheodds.
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