Pattengill Elementary

Ann Arbor Public Schools Recommendation: Bryant - Pattengill Elementary Schools Re-Envision

  • Summary Recommendation

    Wednesday, June 12, 2019

    Over the previous year, many individuals have participated in providing input and feedback on a new school design for the Bryant-Pattengill community. This has been an important process, and we are grateful for the engagement of staff, parents, and all those who have served as a part of a group or who have contributed in numerous other ways – through staff and community meetings, surveys, emails, etc., during this robust community engagement process. It is meaningful and important that our community clearly prioritizes our children and these schools. 

    Over the coming phase of planning, during 2019-20,  and implementation, beginning in 2020-21, expert partnership, training, and support will be provided for the Bryant-Pattengill staff as we work with nationally-regarded and locally-effective experts in each of the areas outlined below. The district commitment is to ensure a comprehensive school redesign that will achieve improved equity and excellence for all students in the Bryant-Pattengill community.  

    Priority Focus: Equity

    At the heart of this school improvement endeavor lies a firm commitment to dramatically improve student engagement, achievement and success outcomes for Bryant-Pattengill students, and to narrow and close achievement disparities evident among African American, Hispanic, immigrant, second language, special needs, and students impacted by poverty. 

    As stated in the AAPS Draft Equity Plan, AAPS Definition of Equity

    Equity is the moral responsibility of each member of our learning community to take the intentional actions necessary to create a learning community free of barriers, biases, and disproportionality for each and every person regardless of personal characteristics and social circumstances.

    In summary, the goal of the school re-envision is, as shared in a recent discussion among parents, “to ensure Bryant-Pattengill features a rigorous school environment grounded in joy, equity, and love.”


    The proposed recommendation is that Bryant and Pattengill Elementary Schools will continue to share a single attendance area and will continue as a super-pair, featuring a lower elementary program at Bryant and an upper elementary program at Pattengill.  The AAPS will continue to offer full transportation of students across the two neighborhood school communities, as is currently offered. 

    Beginning with a planning year in 2019-2020, and phased implementation beginning in 2020-2021, the Bryant-Pattengill re-envisioned school will feature:

    Culturally Representative Pedagogy, Curricula and School Practice

    School pedagogy, curricula, and school practice will be redesigned from an equity lens to ensure cultural representation which respects, embraces, and celebrates all cultures. This work will be completed by teachers and leaders in the schools in direct partnership with university education equity experts over a three-year process.

    The Bryant-Pattengill equity work will include the essential components necessary for the development of an equity-oriented mindset among all on the school team as well as students, parents, and stakeholders in the school. 

    Preschool and Early Learning Classrooms

    Understanding the dramatic and positive impact of quality early learning to ensure a strong start in the earliest days of school and improved student achievement outcomes, beginning in 2020-2021, Bryant elementary school will offer a quality preschool program, including Head Start opportunities for three and four year old students. 

    Bryant community has the highest number of Head-Start, preschool-identified students from any school attendance area in the district, and so the locating of preschool programming in Bryant school will provide much-needed, quality preschool programming directly in the neighborhood, and prevent the need for transportation of our youngest Bryant-Pattengill students. 

    Preschool programming will be International Baccalaureate preschool, an enriching, quality experience that will be one of only two such programs currently offered in Michigan. 

    International Baccalaureate Program

    Beginning in 2020-2021, Bryant and Pattengill Elementary schools will engage in the process to offer the International Baccalaureate Program, beginning with a Consideration phase and moving into Candidacy phase over the coming three to four years (Note: IB authorization requires a minimum of three years of process work, training, and engagement with the school team).  

    National research data demonstrate the effectiveness of the International Baccalaureate program with African American students, students from poverty, and immigrant and second language students, both in P12 school outcomes, as well as in postsecondary outcomes.  (See attached IB research briefs.)

    Bryant-Pattengill’s celebration of diversity - welcoming students from around the globe with proficiency in many languages - is represented and celebrated within the International Baccalaureate approach. 

    Social Emotional Learning featuring Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning 

    Culturally Responsive Teaching will be universally implemented at Bryant-Pattengill schools as it is phased over the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.

    Culturally responsive teaching (CRT)[1] is defined as:

    An educator’s ability to recognize students’ cultural displays of learning and meaning-making and respond positively and constructively with teaching moves that use cultural knowledge as a scaffold to connect what the student knows to new concepts and content in order to promote effective information processing.  All the while, the educator understands the importance of being in a relationship and having a social-emotional connection to the student in order to create a safe space for learning.

    Incorporating CRT with an IB and traditional learning approach will invite students to feel significant and have a full sense of belonging in a classroom community during the foundation of their educational experience within Ann Arbor Public Schools.  

    In addition to teaching and learning, addressing the needs of the whole child is an essential component to strengthening the community. We must take care of the head and the heart; focusing on the social, emotional and academic needs of our children. Through a social emotional curriculum, the Bryant-Pattengill team will have the opportunity to intentionally focus on five competencies, including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relational skills and responsible decision-making. Addressing all of these key skills will support in the creation of a joyful, positive learning environment for Bryant-Pattengill students and help to ensure successful students within an even stronger school community. Students will develop important soft skills, such as empathy and persistence, to build a rigorous school environment grounded in joy, equity, and love. 

    “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. 
    Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.

                                      ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    STEAM Infusion

    The Bryant-Pattengill educational program will feature a strong infusion of STEAM oriented learning and enrichment opportunities, both during the school day as exploratory endeavors and in after-school enrichment programming. 

    The STEAM learning opportunities include the creation of collaborative work spaces – ‘Fab Labs’ - in each school where students and adults may use high-tech tools and machines to create their designs. These open space labs are being added to the buildings this summer. 

    Focus components of STEAM learning will include enhanced Project Lead the Way programming, including Robotics, Computer Science, and High Tech Career focus activities. 

    Physical Enhancements

    Building improvements are scheduled for Bryant and Pattengill for Summer 2019 and Summer 2020.  Generally, Summer 2019 work will include common areas and Summer 2020 improvements will focus on core classrooms.     

    Summer 2019:

    •     Exterior - Landscape improvements, new entrance sunshade, new sign
    •     Lobby - Skylight, lighting, ceiling, painting, and flooring
    •     Media Center - New open ceiling, skylights, glass walls, lighting, and painting
    •     Collaboration Space – Create a new Collaboration Space from the existing daycare room, including: new open ceiling, skylights, glass walls, lighting,
          wet wall, electrical, furnishings, flooring, and painting
    •     Hallways – remove mid-hallway doors, patch and paint
    •     Gymnasium – acoustical panels and improved lighting

    Summer 2020:

    •     Core Classrooms – Complete renovation, including: new windows in expanded openings, lights, floors, cabinets, paint, shades and ceilings - maintain current air conditioning

    Summer 2019:

    •     Exterior - Metal roof replacement
    •     Lobby - Flooring, lights, clean brick, display cases, and painting
    •     Cafeteria - Painting to 10’ high
    •     Collaboration Space – Create a new Collaboration Space, including: new open ceiling, skylights, glass walls, lighting, wet wall, electrical, furnishings, flooring, and painting
    •     Gymnasium – refinish floor, paint, and wall pads
    •     Media Center – patch and paint ceiling

    Summer 2020:

    •     Core Classrooms – Complete renovation, including: lights, floors, cabinets, paint, shades and ceilings
    •     HVAC – Add Air conditioning to all classrooms and generate additional power needs with solar panels

    Next Steps

    • Board discussion and consideration of the summary Bryant-Pattengill Re-envision Recommendation during June 2019.
    • Revision and completion of Bryant-Pattengill Re-Envision chapter, Summer 2019.
    • Planning process with the Bryant-Pattengill team will begin immediately.
    • A more detailed Bryant-Pattengill Action Plan, including timelines will be shared with all stakeholders in Fall 2019.
    • Regular reports and updates to the Board of Education and school stakeholders regarding progress in planning and implementation will be communicated. 


    Since the creation of the Bryant-Pattengill Super-Pair ‘two-schools, one community’ in September 1986, the AAPS committed to orchestrate a culturally, racially, socioeconomically diverse school within the Ann Arbor Public Schools.  

    Currently, the focus builds on this founding priority to ensure each and every student receives a high-quality education and achieves at high levels socially, emotionally and academically.  Today, there exist continuing academic achievement disparities, particularly among African American, economically disadvantaged, English Language Learner, and special education students. Current achievement disparities are unacceptable and the focus of the Bryant-Pattengill re-envision plan is to directly address and realize dramatic improvement to narrow and close disparities in opportunities, achievement, social emotional, and success outcomes for students. 

    With the proposed Bryant-Pattengill enhancements, the AAPS leverages a critical opportunity to ensure top-quality, whole-child learning experiences moving forward. Anchored in a foundation of equity and culturally responsive design and practice, this enhanced programming will be unique and state-of-the-art among International Baccalaureate with STEAM elementary programs in the country. 

    The Bryant-Pattengill elementary schools from the heart of a community that resides in the southern region of Ann Arbor, and through these planned enhancements, Bryant and Pattengill will continue to draw on the strengths of the families that live in their neighboring school communities while also  maintaining a rich, welcoming, internationally-diverse learning community for which Bryant-Pattengill has long been known and directly improving educational opportunities for all students. Moving forward, the AAPS will provide an equitable, optimal and high-quality educational experience for each and every Bryant-Pattengill student – Every Child. Every Day.