Ypsilanti High School no longer eligible for School Improvement Grants
Ypsilanti High School is no longer eligible for up to $2 million in grant money available to help boost achievement in the state’s poorest performing schools.
The Michigan Department of Education no longer lists Ypsilanti High as achieving in the lowest 5-percent of schools statewide. Schools must be among the lowest 5-percent to receive the assistance.
Locally, Willow Run High School is the only school on that list. District officials there were not immediately available for comment.
Ypsilanti Public Schools officials were previously told Ypsilanti High was eligible for the assistance. But the state made last-minute adjustments to the formula it uses to determine qualifying schools. Instead of using one year of data that included MEAP scores and graduation rates, it is now using two years.
District spokeswoman Emma Jackson said Superintendent Dedrick Martin received a phone call from the Department of Education today at 12:15 p.m. informing him of the school’s new status. The deadline to file for the grant money was 3 p.m.
“We still have to make changes at the high school, but, unfortunately, we’re not eligible to receive money to help with the changes,” Jackson said.
Jackson said the district will no longer consider the four restructuring models it had to choose from to qualify for the grants. Those options included closing the school, not rehiring 50-percent of the staff, making major changes to the curriculum or joining in a “charter-like” arrangement with an outside entity.
Martin said the district had already identified areas in which the school needs to improve and has been proactive in taking steps to make changes. He said the financial assistance would have greatly helped those efforts.
"I'm disappointed we're not entitled to the possibility of $2 million to put together some needed reforms so we can improve the academic outcomes of students at the high school," he said.
A group of school stakeholders and community members assembled by Jennifer Martin, assistant superintendent for educational quality, will still continue to meet and develop ideas for improvement.
Tom Perkins is a freelance writer for AnnArbor.com. Reach the news desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2530.