District Points of Pride
- 100% NCA Accreditation!
- 92% graduation rate – one of the best in Michigan
- Welcoming, creative, safe learning environment
- Effective Anti-Bullying Program
- Only district-run tuition free preschool offered in Wayne County
- The use of advanced technology, including Google Chromebooks, Robotics, communication and digital arts, including Thurston TV (THTV), interactive whiteboards and more
- Study abroad opportunities through our Cultural Immersion programs
- Mandarin Chinese beginning in elementary school
- Freshmen Academy easing the transition to high school
- Many specialized partnerships with business, community, and government leaders, including Detroit Diesel, Botsford Hospital, Redford Public Library, George Matick Chevrolet, Western Wayne Country Club, the Redford Jaycees, and Redford Township
- 750-seat, state-of-the-art Weber Auditorium
- Top rated instrumental music program that begins in elementary school
- Many art and elective programs for all ages, including step teams, school gardens, field trips, NFL Play for 60, and more!
- Standard and Poor’s AA Rating
- Excellent Athletics Program with over 20 sports!
As the population of Redford Township increased during the 19th Century, school districts were established to educate the children. By 1859, there were ten districts serving the 36 square miles of the Township. Their boundaries shifted slightly from time to time; but by 1874, the ten districts were as shown on the enclosed map. The number of the district is in a circle, which is located about where the schoolhouse was built. The names of the present major roads are also given.
The construction of a railroad through the Township attracted more residents; and in 1873, District No. 9 decided to replace their existing wood frame schoolhouse–just as it had replaced an earlier log building. The old frame school in use in 1873 by District No. 9 was able to seat only 45 students and was valued at only $50. The female teacher of the ungraded school taught 37 pupils that year and was paid $185.
District No. 9 bought an acre of land for the new school to be built near the Beech Post Office and Fisher’s Station on the railroad. Nearby was a shoe shop, a store, a cheese factory, and a steam sawmill. The store and sawmill were only two of many business interests owned by a large land owner, Abraham Fisher and his sons Albert and George. The naming of the railroad station after them reflected their importance.
The Fishers, however, did not own the land purchased for the new school. That belonged to Eugenius and Abigale Hodge who sold (for $100) the one-acre parcel from a large tract they held. They were then living in Plymouth; but during 1864 through 1866 and again in 1870 through 1871, Hodge had served as Director of Redford School District No. 9.
By the school year ending September 7, 1874, District No. 9 reported that it had paid $500 toward the construction of the new brick school. By their next report, on September 6, 1875, the district had a new brick building valued at $1,900. It was the newest of the five brick schoolhouses in Redford Township; the other five schools were wooden frame.
At the same time the brick Beech School opened, there were 68 children between age 5 and 20 years living in District No. 9. Fifty-seven pupils attended an average of five months, but school was held for eight months of the year. There were 75 volumes in the District No. 9 library. The new brick school could seat 70 pupils. One male teacher taught four of the eight months (probably the winter term) and was paid $180. A female teacher taught the other four months (probably the summer term) for $80. (It must be understood that at that time, a “teacher” often was a 14-year-old girl and that during the summer term, the only pupils attending were the younger boys and girls; and discipline problems often associated in those days with 18- and 19-year-old boys determined to “get” the schoolmaster during the winter term were not a problem during the summer term because the boys were busy working on the farm.)
In that first year of the new brick school, the state two-mill tax brought in $110 for the district treasury. The State of Michigan Primary School Fund paid $25 to the district, and district taxes brought in $725.54. The district borrowed $500 to help pay for the new school. The total expenditures for the year were $1,745.46, and the total indebtedness of District No. 9 was $820.60. The following year, the district paid off all their bonded indebtedness.
Redford Township once included the 36 square miles laid out, plus a small portion of Southfield Township. A section in the northwest corner, near the tollgate, far from any other community, requested the Redford Township School District to consider it an independent school district to be called Clarenceville. A portion of the four townships which met at the point of Base Line and Inkster, Livonia, Farmington, Southfield, and Redford each ceded the small portion requested. The balance of Redford had a school at Grand River and Burt Road. Gradually, a few small schools developed in some of the more populated areas, and the state divided the Township into school districts. The schools were one-room and two-room and did not give one teacher much opportunity to teach eight grades in the buildings provided.
This problem was recognized by the Legislature in 1909, and the consolidation of three or more schools was authorized; but few districts availed themselves of the opportunity. School board members did not wish to give up their authority over their little schools. By 1921, the Legislature began to use pressure to have schools consolidate; and six of the nine schools in Redford–all located in the northern and eastern part of the township–united. The southwest was sparsely populated. District No. 6 did not even have a school but sent its children to other schools nearby.
The schools that consolidated were Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 10. Those that did not join were No. 2 at the very east edge of the Township near St. Mary’s of Redford Church (that group had more in common with Greenfield than with Redford), No. 6, and No. 9. School District No. 9 was located at Beech and the railroad. Sylvester Shear was the dominate board member of District No. 6–which had no school–a job he held for 27 years. When left alone, No. 9 and No. 6 joined and had a five-man school board instead of three-man boards. Mr. Shear was on this new board and remained for another seven years.
During the years 1923-26, Detroit was growing in Redford’s direction and wanted to annex portions of the suburbs. It was not until 1906 that Detroit had as much acreage as Redford Township had had since 1833. Detroit promised almost everything to get Redford to annex–paved streets, sewers, inside toilets. The debts were divided according to the size of the population and land and buildings for schools with Detroit accepting two-thirds of the costs and taking about two-thirds of the land in elections held in 1924, 1925, and 1926. The far west would have nothing to do with Detroit and has remained independent even until now. It was 11.25 square miles in area.
The Beech School served as the only school in District No. 9 until the 1920s when the George Hall Fisher Elementary School was opened. In the 1920s, the eastern portion of Redford Township was annexed by the city of Detroit, which took over the schools located in that portion. About the same time, the districts in the northern part of the township were consolidated into the Redford Union School District. District No. 9 became the “School District of Redford Township,” and finally the name was changed to the South Redford School District. The Beech School was used for classes after World War II until additional classrooms could be built. The South Redford School District finally sold the building and land to help further the development of adjoining commercial properties. However, the Beech School building still stands; and today, over a century and a quarter after it was built, the Beech School still serves an educational purpose for the community, as well as being the principal remaining monument from the early history of Redford Township.
South Redford saw the 1940s and 1950s bring on a steep increase in enrollment and, therefore, had to build several new schools. Shear Elementary was the first of the schools to be built in this period. It was built in 1946 and is currently being used for Administrative Offices for the School District. Six more schools were built during this era: Ashcroft (1948); Mason (1950); Rogers (1956); Vandenberg (1956); Mann (1957); Jefferson (1958); and Addams (1963). Pierce Junior High was built in 1959 near the end of the major construction period, and Marshall Junior High was built in 1960. Thurston High School was built in 1953 to meet the changing needs of the South Redford students.
Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, many of the schools in South Redford underwent numerous improvements and renovations until late in the 1970s when the District was forced to close six schools: Ashcroft Elementary; Rogers Elementary; Mason Elementary; Shear Elementary; and Mann Elementary, which is now the Redford Community Center; and Marshall Junior High.