Henry Ford Early College, Haigh Elementary named as National Blue Ribbon Schools

A Haigh teacher holds a stick with a live butterfly on the end while students watch during an outdoor lesson.

Henry Ford Early College and Haigh Elementary were named National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education today, Sept. 21, 2021.

The announcement brings Dearborn Public Schools to five of the prestigious National Blue Ribbon Schools in as many years.

Haigh Elementary has 530 students in Young Fives kindergarten through fifth grade.  A neighborhood elementary, the school uses the Haigh Habits to help students develop independence and leadership skills for school and life outside of the classroom.  Haigh also uses positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) to teach and reward good behavior and student success.

Henry Ford Early College (HFEC) is an early middle college where students from across Wayne County are allowed to take classes for five years to earn both a high school diploma and associate degree in a health-care related field at no cost to their families.  Housed at Henry Ford College, HFEC has 240 students and is possible due to a partnership between the district, the college and Henry Ford Health System.  The school, launched in 2007, was the first of what has grown to be four early middle college programs in Dearborn Public Schools.  

“At HFEC, we believe that with the right customized support and intervention, all students will and can succeed. Students enroll in a variety of health programs and are individually supported by a collaborative staff who live our vision of Students First,” said HFEC Director Majed Fadlallah.

Only 325 schools nationwide, including 13 in Michigan, were named 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools.  Blue Ribbon Schools are selected based on their overall academic excellence or their progress closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Both Haigh and HFEC were selected for overall academic excellence.

“I am so excited for the Haigh staff, students, and community to be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School! Our hard work as a team has allowed for student success both academically and socially,” said Haigh Principal Zachary Short. “This is such a huge honor for Haigh, and I couldn’t be prouder of everyone involved. We look forward to celebrating this massive accomplishment!”

Three other schools in the district were previously named National Blue Ribbon Schools – Iris Becker Elementary in 2017, STEM Middle School in 2018 and Charles A. Lindbergh Elementary in 2019.

Representatives from Dearborn Public Schools, Haigh and HFEC will be in Washington, D.C. on November 4 and 5 to receive the award from the Department of Education.

“This year’s cohort of honorees demonstrates what is possible when committed educators and school leaders create vibrant, welcoming, and affirming school cultures where rich teaching and learning can flourish,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in announcing the awards at a school in Illinois. “I commend this and all of our Blue Ribbon honorees for working to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. In the face of unprecedented circumstances, you found creative ways to engage, care for, protect, and teach our children. Blue Ribbon Schools have so much to offer and can serve as a model for other schools and communities so that we can truly build back better.”