Dearborn City School District, Dearborn, Michigan

Moving Beyond Compliance to a Continuous Improvement Process
By: | January 6, 2019
District Name: Dearborn City School District
District State: Michigan
District Website:

Challenge: The district wanted to establish a consistent and systematic process that would produce effective change in its 34 schools and ensure that all students grow and achieve.

Initiative: The district developed a rubric and evaluation tool to streamline its school improvement process, incorporating stakeholders at every level. The tool rates nine high-impact strategies while focusing on classroom applications. Administrators, teachers, staff, parents and students visit classrooms and rate what learners are doing and saying, the level of engagement, the depth of questions and the cognitive demands of the activities. Following the classroom visits, teams discuss observations to provide written feedback to teachers.

Impact: Students’ scores on standardized and benchmark assessments have improved, and the graduation rate rose from 76 percent in 2011 to 95 percent in 2017. Dearborn is now in the 92nd percentile nationally for student growth.

Advice: “Involve all stakeholders in developing the protocol and align it with accountability mandates,” Superintendent Glenn Maleyko says. “Intentional and timely implementation creates a positive outlook while using the school improvement process as a growth rather than evaluative tool.” He also recommends reducing paperwork and reporting requirements as much as possible to better focus the process.