And the responsibility that the staff feels for all students translates to exceptional results. For instance, in 2019 Discovery’s proficiency rate for its Black students in English Language Arts and Math was higher than the statewide rates for those subjects for Michigan students overall. That’s significant in a state where proficiency rates lag for subgroups.
Discovery staff also demonstrate immense care, compassion, and consideration for students and families, considering their diversity to be their strength.
As an example, the school is intentional about providing learning tools that acknowledge and affirm the diverse community of students at the school. With over 700 students, 39 languages spoken, and students representing Black, Latino, Asian, Indigenous and White communities—including many English learners—it’s a big deal.
“I went to a private school that was 90% White. And when kids would see a name that was different, they might giggle or say, ‘Who has a name like that?’ That devalues students in a significant way,” said Discovery teacher Jacqueline Inclan.
“I’ve noticed that the curriculum [at Discovery] refers to more ethnically diverse names, which is a small thing, but it says to kids ‘I see you,’ and there’s more than just John and Susan out there, which I think is important for kids to realize,” Inclan said.
As Michigan continues to struggle to be a top state for education, Discovery Elementary is an example of what’s possible when a school’s full staff is invested in student success, uses evidence-based instructional strategies, and provides the resources necessary to students in a safe and affirming learning environment.