Bellevue, Howe, & Hutchinson Elementary Schools

A Partnership for URBAN SCHOOL RENEWAL A Story of Change

Three schools on the eastside of Detroit are collaborating as part of the Schools of the 21st Century Initiative. Beginning in the Fall of 1998, these three schools have planned together with support by faculty of the Whole Schooling Consortium and the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA). In the fall of 1999, the cluster was one of 10 in Detroit to receive four year funding for a comprehensive school renewal effort to transform teaching and learning in their schools. The schools chose Accelerated Schools as the official school reform model required by the funders as a tool for implementing their commitment to the Five Principles of Whole Schooling.

The Support Team: The schools have chosen to develop a comprehensive, collaborative support team that includes:

Accelerated Schools Project: to provide training and technical assistance in the model with particular emphasis on democratic governance, powerful learning, and inquiry.

Whole Schooling Consortium: to facilitate movements towards inclusive education in all three schools, provide training and technical assistance related to multiple intelligences, and to provide a 'coach' to work in Howe Elementary Schools.

Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement: to work across the cluster in promoting engaged literacy approaches that imbed skills acquisition in authentic reading and writing.

Communities in Schools: to provide a school-community liason staff person in each school to develop programs of partnerships with families and community resources.

Strategic Teaching and Reading: to provide training for staff in this approach to literacy.

This web site tells the story of this school renewal effort. In this site we tell you our story ­ our actions, work, and results. We share with you tools and information that may also be helpful to other schools as you work to improve education of your students.As the story unfolds of their work, we will add more information.


First, here is some information about the three schools.

1. Bellevue Elementary
Bellevue Elementary School has a population of approximately 660 students with classes from Head Start through grade five. It also houses three special needs classes. It is a school wide Title I building offering technological training and skills development; Project Share; after school programs; OmniArts ; and history study at the Detroit Historical Museum. Partnerships include Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity ­ Iota Boule Adopt-A- School Program; Michigan State University; Detroit Institute of Arts; NBD In School Program; and Kappa Delta Pi Eastern Michigan University tutoring program. Parental and community involvement includes the Site-Based Decision - Making Council, the Local School Community Organization, chaperones and classroom tutors.

2. Howe Elementary
Howe Elementary School has a population of 626 students. This includes five classrooms for students receiving specialized services. Special features and programs at Howe include After School Tutorial Program,; Family Math and Science; Kwanzaa Garden; Starbase; technology projects; and WyTriad. Each classroom is equipped with computers and telephones. Howe School houses a community health center in conjunction with Mercy Hospital. The Southeast Optimist Club has been a long time partner. The Howe School family works collaboratively to create a caring, nurturing and challenging environment for all students. It is also a place where teachers, students, parents, and the community form learning partnerships to help ensure that students flourish in the information age.

3. Hutchinson Elementary
Hutchinson Elementary School has an enrollment of 750 students. The population includes students from the Preschool level through grade five. Hutchinson also has two classrooms for students receiving specialized services. It incorporates a strong and diverse General Education Program that engages parents and students in homework initiatives. There is a full time M.E.A.P. Instructional Specialist; a counselor and social worker as well as a functional Resource Recovery Team. Hutchinson also has instituted a School-to-Work Program to inform students about the employment process, and an After-School tutorial Program in which high school students assist instructional staff and students.


The schools came together as a cluster in 1998 to work together to improve our schools as part of the 21st Century Initiative of the Detroit Public Schools. Bellevue Elementary School and faculty of the Whole Schooling Consortium agreed to work together to use the Five Principles of Whole Schooling to improve learning. After staff of Bellevue overwhelming agreed to adopt this approach, a collaborative team worked to recruit other interested schools. By March of 1998, Bellevue, Howe, and Hutchinson Elementary Schools had agreed to work as a cluster using the Five Principles of Whole Schooling as the foundation of their school reform efforts.

The schools formed a Cluster Coordinating Team composed of administrators, teachers, parents, community members, and faculty. Per the requirements of the 21st Century Schools initiative, they formed a collaborative working group to begin to plan for school renewal. The first step was to obtain funding for a small planning grant to pull together a working team. During this time, the cluster spent time and energy to develop a VISION for their schools.


The second step, per initiative requirements, was to apply for a $50,000 grant to develop a comprehensive school reform plan. This was awarded to the Cluster in January of 1999. Whole Schooling Planning Grant.

During this time, with support of faculty of the Whole Schooling Consortium, school staff and their partners engaged parents, staff, and others in developing a vision for the schools and identifying needs and strategies for improvement. These include:


With support by the faculty of the Whole Schooling Consortium and the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement, the cluster developed a 3 1/2 year plan that includes the following key components:


In November of 1999, staff of the Accelerated Schools Project provided a week of training for representatives of all three schools and key supporting partners. In March of 2000, two days of training was provided in Powerful Learning. Coaches for all 3 schools were hired and contracts with all supporting partners put in place. In each school, coaches and other supporting faculty are engaging teachers in dialogue regarding efforts for innovation. Some of this builds on efforts already begun. Here's some of what happened.

Bellevue Elementary School
1501 Canton
Detroit, Michigan 48207
FAX 313-866-7521
Principal: Yvonne Mayfield

Howe Elementary School
10430 Charlevoix
Detroit, Michigan 48214
FAX 313-824-1340
Principal: Carolyn McKissic
Hutchinson Elementary School
5221 Montclair
Detroit, Michigan 48213
FAX 313-579-1549
Principal: Shirley Stephen