How do our schools rank?

Becky Vargo • Jan 28, 2017 at 10:00 AM

A lot of hard work has gone into bringing a Grand Haven school from one under sharp focus to one of the top schools in the state.

Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Andrew Ingall said he’s proud of the efforts that pulled Lake Hills Elementary into the top 5 percent of schools in Michigan.

The list of top-to-bottom rankings for the 2015-16 school year was released late last week by the Michigan Department of Education.

Lake Hills was not previously in the bottom 5 percent, but it showed achievement gap issues and had additional accountability measures, Ingall said.

“They’ve changed their performance so dramatically with a ‘whatever it takes’ attitude and high attention to student progress and performance,” he said.

Griffin and Mary A. White elementary schools also achieved Reward School status. In the Spring Lake district, Spring Lake Intermediate School and Holmes Elementary School also made the Reward list.

Reward Schools are those that achieved one or more of the following distinctions: top 5 percent of schools on the Overall School Rankings, top 5 percent of schools making the greatest gains in achievement (improvement metric), or "Beating the Odds" by outperforming the school's predicted ranking and/or similar schools.

Spring Lake High School and Grand Haven’s Rosy Mound Elementary School scored 92 and 90 percent, respectively. Other area schools scoring above 80 percent, in order of highest to lowest, were: Walden Green, Spring Lake Middle, Jeffers Elementary, White Pines Intermediate and Lakeshore Middle.

Ingall said the Grand Haven school district has been working with the information since the early fall. The release of information last week was for the public, he said. 

“As soon as we receive assessment scores, our teams immediately digest the data for places where we need to improve and for the bright spots,” he said. “... On the whole, we’re doing very well. Eighty percent of our district made a year’s progress in a year’s time. We have high performance across the board.”

Ingall recommends anyone looking at the rankings to read carefully. There are a lot of different aspects to the scores.

“In reality, there are 60 different ways we can fall off,” he said.

Spring Lake Public Schools Superintendent Dennis Furton said that they look over the ranking information, but “our efforts are always going to be on improving student achievement.” He said there’s often contradiction and inconsistencies between various reports, so he’s more interested in how the community ranks the school system.

“Year after year, we get very positive feedback from our parents,” Furton said. “At the same time, we are very observant of our student data.”

A Detroit Free Press report notes that many of the top-ranked schools are in the southeastern portion of the state.

The state education department released school scorecards, which provide a range of data, including a top-to-bottom ranking of nearly every school in Michigan. Those at the top ranked at the 99th percentile, meaning they perform better than just about every other school in the state. Another 28 held up the rear, ranking at the zero percentile.

Lake Hills and Griffin elementary schools are part of that top 27. The list also include five schools in the Ann Arbor public school district; a school for gifted and talented students in the Crestwood school district; four charter schools; and a school in the Dearborn district focused on science, technology, engineering and math.

Here are the top-ranked schools in the state (from the Detroit Free Press story):

• Brown Elementary School, Byron Center Public Schools    
• Webster Elementary School, Livonia Public Schools
• Martin Luther King Elementary School, Ann Arbor Public Schools
• Angell School, Ann Arbor Public Schools    
• South Arbor Charter Academy, Ypsilanti charter school    
• Lake Hills Elementary School, Grand Haven Area Public Schools    
• Plymouth Scholars Charter Academy, charter school    
• Lewis Maire Elementary School, Grosse Pointe Public Schools
• Eberwhite School, Ann Arbor Public Schools
• Schroeder Elementary School, Troy Public Schools
• Achieve Charter Academy, Canton charter school
• Dearborn 6/7 S.T.E.M. School, Dearborn City School District    
• Hemmeter Elementary School, Saginaw Township Community Schools    
• Handley School, School District of the City of Saginaw
• Amerman Elementary School, Northville Public Schools
• Long Meadow Elementary School, Rochester Community Schools
• Bach Elementary School, Ann Arbor Public Schools
• Gallimore Elementary School, Plymouth-Canton Community Schools
• Lillian G. Mason Elementary School, Grand Blanc Community School
• Ada Elementary School, Forest Hills Public Schools    
• Deerfield Elementary School, Novi Community Schools
• North Hill Elementary School, Rochester Community Schools
• Canton Charter Academy, charter school    
• Conant Elementary School, Bloomfield Hills Schools
• Crestwood Accelerated Program, Crestwood School District   
• Wines Elementary School, Ann Arbor Public Schools
• Griffin Elementary School, Grand Haven Area Public Schools

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