About What’s Possible for
Students Who are Underserved

The Education Trust-Midwest launched the Building the Hope Schools Awards in 2021 to shine a bright spotlight on schools that consistently demonstrate exceptional academic progress or growth for students who are underserved.

The first four Michigan schools that were recognized served as models for educational recovery as schools across Michigan and the nation sought strategies for the unfinished learning amid and following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The schools — all public schools — served predominantly students of color and students from low-income backgrounds and were in the top 25 percent for academic proficiency or above average student growth for all Michigan students.

Ed Trust-Midwest conducted a comprehensive quantitative analysis to identify the schools, including a statewide analysis of Michigan public school data. Analysts and team members also conducted qualitative analyses through visits and dozens of interviews.

Ten other schools have since been honored for their extraordinary work to close opportunity gaps.

In the schools, subgroups of students — Black, Latino, low-income, and English Learner students, in particular, were performing in the top 30% among Michigan’s high-growth public schools. In addition, they demonstrated culturally and linguistically responsive school-wide practices — including instructional practices — that facilitated students’ outstanding academic progress and growth, making them true outliers in the state of Michigan. Ed Trust-Midwest has continued to honor schools each year since, using a new methodology for the 2023 awards to review post-pandemic data.