South Redford School District

Thomas Jefferson Elementary School

Thomas Jefferson Elementary School was selected as a BTH school because 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 3 consecutive years. Moreover, 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.

Research shows that acceleration actually boosts kids and closes gaps faster than if you’re just plugging holes. Because if you plug the holes here and then they don’t have the learning now, they’re going to still constantly be behind.”

— Kay Shufeldt

Instructional Coach


of the student population come from low-income households

Black Students’
2019 Above Average Growth Rates
Black Students at Thomas Jefferson
Statewide Rate for all MI Students
Total Enrollment


are students of color

We talked about the gap that we’ve had between our white students and black students. We looked at the gap between our social, economics, … their resources, financial or what have you. … And we had some conversations. There was a lot of reasons that you can put on that … But we actually sat down and said, ‘Okay, so what are we going to do about it?’”

— James Kinsey

Thomas Jefferson Elementary Principal

Kentwood Public Schools

Discovery Elementary

A National Heritage Academies School

Hamtramck Academy