Building Hope

Recognizing schools that set a standard of excellence for all students

Exceptional growth

At the Building the Hope Schools, the majority of students are students of color and students from low-income backgrounds. These public schools are in the top 25% for academic proficiency or above average student growth for all Michigan students. Moreover, their subgroups of students — Black, Latino, low-income and English Learner students in particular – also are performing in the top 30% among Michigan’s high-growth public schools where data is available. They also engage in culturally- and linguistically-responsive schoolwide practices — including instructional practices — that facilitate students’ outstanding academic progress and growth, making them true outliers in the state of Michigan.

Meet the recipients

Evaluating for Excellence

1
Student Achievement
Drive for results in student assessments and attaining racial equity in achievement data​
2
Student Growth
Accelerating student learning​​
3
Belief in Learning Potential
Students of color and students from low-income backgrounds can learn at high levels​​
4
Affirming Student, Teacher & School Practices
Positive school climate and culture, including culturally and linguistically responsive practices​
5
Current and Future Success
Instructional and school leadership that creates conditions for current and future success​
About the Awards

Building the Hope awards

The Education Trust-Midwest is proud to announce the Building the Hope Schools award recipients. At all Building the Hope Schools, students of color and students from low-income backgrounds demonstrate instructional growth and achievement wins across subjects, grades, and years, making them true outliers across the state of Michigan.

Detroit Public School Community District

Bennett Elementary

At Bennett Elementary School, English Learners showed exceptional academic growth as demonstrated by exceeding the statewide above average growth rates in both ELA and Math for three straight years. Bennett Elementary teachers employ targeted and differentiated instructional strategies to ensure their English Learners have the tools to grow in proficiency year after year. Additionally, the school engages families through a variety of linguistically-responsive communications, including an app that provides translation for monolingual parents and caregivers. An EL Interventionist is also on staff to further assist students towards growth in English fluency and content mastery. Finally, Bennett sees great success with its Scholar Dollars incentive program, which has positively impacted behavior and attendance and provides opportunities to celebrate student achievement.

Differentiated learning strategies

Kentwood Public Schools

Discovery Elementary

At Discovery Elementary School, most subgroups of students, including Black, Latino, and students from low-income backgrounds, showed exceptional academic progress as demonstrated by exceeding the statewide proficiency rate in both ELA and Math for three consecutive years. Discovery Elementary has demonstrated consistent commitment to their diverse school community by addressing language barriers, hosting cultural celebration days, and advocating for a culturally-responsive curriculum. In support of their belief that all children are capable of high achievement, students learn in groups tailored to their levels and teachers utilize small learning groups to support students who are struggling. Moreover, the school schedule is optimized and designed to allow for deep student learning. Parents also report that their children are known and engaged in their unique strengths and needs. Moreover, the school schedule is optimized and designed to allow for deep student learning.

Celebrating cultural diversity

South Redford School District

Thomas Jefferson Elementary

At Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, multiple student subgroups, including Black students and students from low-income backgrounds, showed exceptional academic growth as demonstrated by exceeding the statewide above average growth rate in both ELA and Math for three consecutive years. School leaders at Thomas Jefferson value students’ growth and efficacy, and demonstrate this by helping each student understand their current academic situation and encouraging goal setting. Teachers and leaders have a strong belief in students’ potential and have changed practices and policies over the last few years to eliminate barriers for students and create conditions for academic success. Some of these changed practices and policies include increasing attention and teachers’ skill towards accelerating students’ learning, decreasing suspension and discipline rates, and pulling all students for targeted instruction to limit the stigma of remediation.

Making families feel welcome

A National Heritage Academies School

Hamtramck Academy

At Hamtramck Academy, multiple student groups including Asian students and students from low-income backgrounds showed exceptional academic progress as demonstrated by exceeding the statewide proficiency rate in both ELA and Math for three consecutive years. Hamtramck Academy effectively uses data on an ongoing basis to track student progress and inform individualized instruction. Teachers pay special attention to the differences between state assessment performance and day-to-day performance, and utilize daily “exit tickets” to determine needs for further intervention and focused, small group instruction. Students at Hamtramck benefit from a robust team of specialists, interventionists and paraprofessionals, and intervention groups are varied to reduce stigma and promote an inclusive class environment. Hamtramck Academy also leverages programs and apps like DreamBox, Lexia, and Khan Academy to complement in-class instruction, reinforce lessons, and provide students extra challenge as needed. The faculty and staff demonstrate a commitment to engaging families and honoring the many cultures represented in their school community by providing Arabic and Bengali translators, engaging in diverse reading materials, and using culturally-responsive communication and discipline practices.

Diversity and data