Volume 3 No. 6

The Bay Mills' authorized Bradford Academy, located in Southfield, is a K-12 charter academy which focuses on both academic and character development. Their mission is to "instill the qualities of character, excellence, creativity and service" into students. This mission helps keep their core values in mind, which include: discovery of oneself through cultural experiences and leadership in personal responsibility, service and dignity. Their academics, beginning in preschool, enhance with each school year, creating well-rounded students.

In preschool, young minds begin to develop with learning programs focused on the development of social skills and a basic understanding of a school environment. Once in the elementary program, kindergarten-aged children build on the knowledge of preschool with more basics of schooling and learning. Bradford describes their kindergarten curriculum like a flower garden- "kindergarten is a place for a child's mind to grow and be nourished in our kindergarten classroom(s), our teachers will nurture your child's natural curiosity, while reinforcing the joy of discovery."

Moving into later elementary years, students begin to learn a variety of new concepts with common core objectives in focus. Through group work and individual work, the students have hands-on experiences with teamwork as well as independent work. The academy also incorporates curated programs, such as 6+1 Traits of Writing and EnVision math for their students. Their electives include Spanish, Technology, Art and Physical Education.

In middle school, Bradford Academy students' skills are built based on the foundation of learning that they achieved in elementary school. However, their learning is now focused on preparation for high school. During this time, there is a larger emphasis on character education in accordance with their mission and core values. Their electives remain the same as elementary school, with the exception of health.

The students' high school education wraps up all of the learned skills through the Michigan Merit Curriculum (MME) and a selection of elective courses. Both sophomore and junior students prepare for the ACT through curated courses aimed at achieving successful scores. Senior year, students are given a unique course called "Street Law", which aides students with living in our "law-related" society.

Outside of the classroom, Bradford Academy offers a variety of student organizations and activities. Elementary school students have a smaller but diverse list of offerings: art club, academic club and reading club. Middle schoolers may choose between a long list of clubs, such as student government, robotics and creative writing. Finally, with a longer and more specific list, high schoolers have the option to try anything from Anime club to weight lifting club.

Bradford Academy wants their students to succeed with the help of their teachers, parents and peers. With a new character trait focused into the curriculum each month, students have the opportunity to understand the importance of character development and grow with integrity. Parents are encouraged to incorporate the monthly trait into conversations and activities with their children. With a strong grasp on both academic and moral growth, Bradford Academy embodies their mission completely and daily.

Learn more about Bradford Academy by visiting their website: https://bradfordacademy.com/ 

Credit: Global Educational Excellence

Published: March 8, 2019 by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Written By: Ben DeGrow 

Quietly but effectively, Frontier International Academy has stood out in making a positive impact on the newer, less privileged American high schoolers who have enrolled there.

On the most recent edition of Mackinac Center's  Context and Performance Report Card, Frontier ranked 11th out of 674 high schools statewide. A longer-term measure proved equally remarkable. Combining measured  performance from the last 11 years, only five Michigan high schools earned a higher score.

Mackinac's report uniquely adjusts multiple years of state test results based on the level of student poverty in a school. Nearly every single student at Frontier, a public charter school authorized by Bay Mills Community College, is deemed low-income.
Frontier International Academy occupies an old but stately facility that formerly housed Cleveland Middle School building, closed down by the Detroit school district in 2010. The school's management company, Global Educational Excellence, invested in overhauling a structure that was in a bad state of disrepair. Today, more work is being done to make fuller use of the space, converting one wing to serve additional students in grades K-5 next year.

Most of the students served are first-generation immigrants, many from regions in south Asia. In all, 65 percent of the high school's 500-plus students come from homes where English is not spoken as the primary language. The school takes in some learners from higher-performing charter schools like Bridge Academy West and  Hamtramck Academy, along with peers from other area schools who tend to need more help. Some students arrive well behind grade level.

"A lot of kids don't have any parents helping them with school work," said high school Principal Dr. Adnan Aabed. "Their parents are working, sometimes in long shifts." The school provides double doses of English and math instruction to students who come in the furthest behind. Some may even take an extra weekly 2-hour ESL class.

Teachers are carefully trained how to deliver "sheltered instruction," a research-backed model that puts extra attention on helping English language learners comprehend classroom content. The model also focuses on providing extra support to students dealing with more serious emotional issues.

Given the challenges, Aabed is proud of his school's 93 percent attendance rate. By the time students reach their final year at Frontier, showing up for class extends beyond campus for part of the day. More than 60 students this year are dual-enrolled at area community colleges.

Aabed says many parents, especially those with daughters, choose his school out of safety concerns. The  data reflect the trend: Last school year, 55 percent of Frontier students were female. Another factor that makes the school popular for families is its highly regarded Arabic language program, which blends material on American history and culture into the curriculum. Even so, appreciation of different cultures represented on campus stands as a core value.

Nearly every student at Frontier ends up earning a diploma. Not all of its graduates go on to higher education, in some cases due to cultural expectations. But school leaders employ various programs to help make sure all students have the skills and confidence to take the next step up. That includes the availability of three Advanced Placement courses, growing to five in 2019-20.

"I have had the experience of working with students who came to school as a 9th grader who didn't understand English, not familiar with American culture, then saw them graduate four years later ready for the challenge of college," said Debrah Davidson, a veteran teacher who also chairs the School Improvement Team. "They are living proof we make a difference."

A caring, effective and stable teaching workforce is a key ingredient of success. It takes a higher starting salary to bring them in, but Aabed noted that more than 95 percent of Frontier's faculty return from year to year.

A sense of mission and accomplishment is instrumental in keeping many of the charter school's educators on board. As Davidson said, "We open doors of opportunity for generations to come."

Interested in gaining educational experience? Or are you looking to add to your resume? Consider becoming a charter school board member for a public school academy authorized by Bay Mills Community College Charter Schools Office!
At Bay Mills Community College, we support a quality education to urban, minority and/or poor children.
Bay Mills will provide all of our academy boards with pertinent training so that they are able to make choices that are in the best interest of the students that attend their academies .
Our public school academies are always looking for new members that bring a range of skills, experiences and desire to help the Academy students to excel academically, as well as having the goal of advancing the mission of Bay Mills.
Some requirements of the position:
  • Engagement with the goals of the Academy
  • Enthusiasm to be an ambassador for the Academy
  • Willingness to fulfill the obligation of a board member, as well as continue to uphold the standards of being a board member
Board Member Qualifications:
  • Citizen of the United States
  • Resident of the State of Michigan
  • Submit materials requested by the College Charter Schools Office such as:
    • Public School Academy Board Member Appointment Questionnaire
      • Must include authorization to process a background check of the nominee
      • Submit annual disclosure of conflicts of interest
Members of the Board of Directors shall include:
  • At least one parent or guardian of a child attending the school
  • One professional educator; preferably a person with school administrative experience
Members of the Board of Directors shall NOT include:
  • Any member appointed or controlled by another profit or non-profit corporation
  • Academy employees or independent contractors performing services for the Academy
  • Any current or former director, officer, or employee of a management company that contracts with the academy
  • College officials or employees 
All Academy Board members shall serve in their individual capacity, and not as a designee of any other person or entity. If it is found that a person is serving as a representative or designee of another person or entity, they shall be deemed ineligible to serve as a Director of the Academy Board. They shall be removed from office in accordance with provisions found in the Resolution or Schedule 2: Bylaws.
Note that a Director serves at the pleasure of the College Board, and may be removed with or without cause by the College Board at any time.
Working with an Academy is the perfect opportunity to advance your career interests, expand your knowledge on education and help children receive a quality education that will last a lifetime. Apply to become a board member today!

For more information or to receive an application, please contact Megan Ringuette, Bay Mills Community College Charter Schools Office Compliance Coordinator at 906-248-8419 or mringuette@bmcc.edu.
About Bay Mills Community College Charter Schools
Bay Mills Community College began authorizing charter schools in the year 2000 and now authorizes 46 schools serving approximately 22,000 students. Fall 2015: 22,729 and Spring 2016: 22,257
Our Mission: To ensure a quality education for urban, minority, and/or poor children by improving and expanding educational opportunities through innovative oversight methods. To provide academy boards with the necessary support and training so that they may make educated decisions that are in the best interest of the students that attend their academies.