The Yemeni American News
Dearborn’s Maples Elementary School has been named a Distinguished School by the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators. The national award recognizes the success of students despite difficult circumstances.
The Distinguished School award is based on the last two years of data. About 79 percent of Maples students are still learning English, and 98 percent are from low-income families.
Only 100 schools, two from each state, receive the award annually for exceptional student achievement. All the schools recognized qualify for funding under the federal Title 1 program, which supports low-income and other at-risk students. ESEA, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, created Title 1.
Principal Donna Jakubik stressed the school’s bond with students’ families.
“Maples’ mission is to provide an exceptional learning environment that empowers every student to succeed in life, today and in the future,” Jakubik said in a statement. “But first the Maples staff always assures the family is supported in any way needed, and we build a partnership with the family, so we can then academically support the learning of their children.”
Support for families ranges from finding community resources to recent immigrants to assisting after a family suffered a fire in their home, she said.
Maples qualified in two of three categories eligible for the award. The school ranked the best in Michigan for closing the achievement gap between the lowest and highest performing students, and it showed excellence in serving special student populations, Jakubik said. The other category is exceptional performance for two consecutive years.
Despite language and economic challenges, the number of Maples students scoring proficient on Michigan standardized tests was above the state passing rate and far above – more than double – the average of schools with similar demographics for the last three years, according to the state’s MISchoolData.org.
Maples has received other recognition over the years for its students’ success. Last year, Bridge Magazine honored the school for Outstanding Achievement based on growth and its success with at-risk students.
“Maples has a history of high student achievement and staff that works hard to meet the needs of all students. We look forward to putting our students first and continuing to do that.” Jakubik said.
Dearborn Schools Superintendent Glenn Maleyko congratulated Maples and thanked its faculty and students.
“We are proud of Maples Elementary for receiving this national honor, but even more proud of the student success it represents,” said Dearborn Schools Superintendent Dr. Glenn Maleyko. “Thank you to all the staff and community at Maples, and across the district, for working together to help every student reach their potential.”