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Baylor-Woodson Elementary School

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Baylor-Woodson Elementary School
Inkster, Mich.

Note: On July 25, 2013, the Wayne County Regional Education Service Agency formally dissolved Baylor-Woodson’s district, Inkster Public Schools. The agency acted in accordance with a decision by the state superintendent of public instruction and the state treasurer that the Inkster district was not financially viable. Recent legislation called for dissolving certain small, financially struggling districts, and Inkster was—along with Buena Vista School District—the first to be dissolved. Its students and buildings will be parceled out to four nearby districts. To read more about the dissolution, click here and here.

The Education Trust continues to list Baylor-Woodson as a Dispelling the Myth school because of its exemplary record of achievement up to and including the year 2011, the year the award was given. Subsequently, the school underwent a leadership change followed by an exodus of its senior staff. The school’s student achievement fell dramatically in the 2012-13 school year.

Located not far from Detroit Metro Airport, Baylor-Woodson Elementary has just about doubled its student population in the past few years. That’s a growth rate that would stagger many schools — particularly those where 84 percent of students qualify for free and reduced-priced meals, and where many of the students and their families face economic challenges, including homelessness.

Yet Baylor-Woodson consistently posts high proficiency rates. Nearly all its students, most of whom are African American, meet reading and math standards. In fact, 73 percent of the school’s fifth-graders scored as advanced in math in 2010, compared with 45 percent in the state. Reading proficiency rates are almost as strong, with 63 percent having scored as advanced, compared with 44 percent statewide.

Many of Baylor-Woodson’s teachers attended Inkster schools themselves. Over the years, they have taken advantage of varied, high-level professional development to improve their practice and ensure that all children learn in new ways. They’ve infused the curriculum with hands-on projects and field trips that expose their students to the wider world. Meanwhile, old-fashioned academic exhibitions foster involvement with parents and other community stakeholders.

“We’re not perfect, but we work together,” said fifth-grade teacher Nelson A. Henry about the staff at Baylor-Woodson. His sentiments were echoed by a parent, who said, “The staff works together — their main goal is that the students achieve success.”

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Published: October 8, 2014

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