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Posted on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Ypsilanti High School students going to class more, getting into trouble less

By Danny Shaw


Ypsilanti Board of Education members viewed a presentation from Ypsilanti High School Principal Rob Belous about student attendance and behavior durin Monday's meeting. file photo

Ypsilanti High School students went to school more, got into trouble less and failed fewer courses during their first semester this school year, according to Principal Rob Belous.

For the first semester of 2011, student discipline referrals were down 51 percent compared to the first semester of 2010, Belous said at Monday’s Board of Education meeting. Students receiving failing grades in courses were also down in 2011 with 198 failing grades compared to 263 in 2010.

“This is something I’m very proud of,” Belous said. “I’m very satisfied with the progress we’ve made, and we hope to continue upwards for the remainder of the school year and beyond. We have a lot of work to do still, but this is a great start.”

Students are also showing up for school more often than last year as well. The attendance rate increased to 89.5 percent, up from 81 percent for 2010’s first semester, Belous said.

Superintendent Dedrick Martin said he is happy to hear more students are attending classes and staying out of trouble, but wanted to remind the community it’s the first of many steps toward a permanent improvement.

“When you talk about true reform, it’s a three- to five-year process before you really see results,” he said. “Mr. Belous and the teaching staff have done a phenomenal job so far, but there’s more to be done. But we can tell a difference in the overall culture, environment and safety within the building.”

Even staff members showed up for work more in 2011, Belous told the board. Staff members missed 415 total days during 2010’s first semester and 277 in 2011- that’s something he said leads to higher student performance.

“Substitutes are great, but having the full-time teacher there as much as possible is essential,” Belous said. “We can’t teach students if they’re not in the seats.”

Belous, who started as principal in June, said the positive changes can be attributed to the hard work of the teachers and staff, and a new outlook within the school.

“I really have three rules: be respectful, take responsibility for what you do, and if you do something wrong, make it right,” he said. “If students are willing to do that, then we’ve changed the culture of issues within the school.”

He said when trying to turn around a school’s academic performance, he thinks the starting point is helping to better behavior and attendance.

“I’ve set some lofty goals,” Belous explained. “I’m proud of the teachers and staff, but I’m also the biggest critic. My goal is simple, I want to see 100 percent of students graduate on time and 100 percent of them to be prepared for whatever comes after.”


tom swift jr.

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 5:14 a.m.

Like they say, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.


Wed, Feb 29, 2012 : 12:56 a.m.

Numbers are up only because they need to meet their quotas or they'll lose some funding, who are you kidding. Recent mandates are putting pressure where it has never been, also staff are showing up because it'll will impact their overall rating, 3 months is not enough time off during the year, I'd like to see the stats prior to all the new regulations and mandates.

greg, too

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 11:42 p.m.

As they stated in the article, let's see them do this for more than two terms to call it a success. And is discipline down because of less issues or because of a change in policies in regards to the application of discipline ? And are those students who are showing up, are they staying the full day? I remember our recent crime spree in NP and CH was caused by students from the YHS. And finally, the decrease in failing students, is that because of better academics or bigger curves? These are easily skew-able numbers that might not tell the whole story.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 6:15 p.m.

As a retired teacher (Schoolcraft College) I always enjoy a positive story about schools, teachers and students succeeding by working together. It is not a cliche to say that these youngsters ARE the future. Keep up the good work!


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

Sounds like a no nonsense kind of principal. Maybe WR might take notice?


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 10:50 p.m.

I misspoke, attendance and achievement have increased. Discipline has improved. We may not be Ann Arbor, but we have been doing a lot of hard work over there!


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 10:38 p.m.

Your welcome. But until WR becomes like Ann Arbor? You won't see mine graduating from there.


Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

Actually, attendance, achievement and discipline incidences have gone down at Willow Run High School, but thanks for thinking of us, as usual, jns131.

Dog Guy

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 2:41 p.m.

Wonderful! True leadership! Keep up the good work! Setting clear goals and inspiring the confidence to pursue them makes teaching and learning much more pleasant.

Meredith Schindler

Tue, Feb 28, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

Mr. Belous is doing a great job at the high school. We went to the presentation that the high school made for local incoming freshman, and it really knocked our socks off. My son who is a junior is getting a fantastic education there, with the ability to get involved in lots of extracurricular activities and sports as well. Now it's a matter of maintaining the momentum and attracting and keeping more students. It would be nice for more area students and families to give it a try - it's really a great school.