Some additional schools in Benton Harbor will be forming partnership agreements with the Michigan Department of Education in order to stay open. The department announced Tuesday Benton Harbor High School and the Mildred C. Wells Preparatory Academy have been added to the list. Their persistently-low test scores have caused them to be identified by the state as in need of extra intervention.
Michigan Schools Superintendent Brian Whiston says the forming of partnership agreements with local districts should be seen as an opportunity for schools to get extra help. Under the partnership agreement, the district is monitored closely by the department of education as it engages local community partners to improve academic performance. If certain benchmarks aren’t met within a certain amount of time, the buildings in the partnership agreement could be shut down.
Benton Harbor Area Schools on Tuesday issued a statement telling us the district has always treated its high school as if it were part of the partnership agreement anyway. The district now has 90 days to add the high school to the agreement, and we’re told that process is expected to go smoothly. Superintendent Shelly Walker says, “We continue our pursuit of educational equity for the students of Benton Harbor Area Schools by our collaboration with the MDE, Department of Treasury, and our local community.”