All 14 made Adequate Yearly Progress, according to the Michigan Department of Education, which released its school report cards this week. The list determines what schools are meeting state standards.
Among the Grosse Pointe schools are five that have been deemed "Reward" schools and are in the top five percent of all schools in Michigan. Another five have been deemed "Focus" schools because they exhibit the highest achievement gap among students.
Then four met state expectations, so they did not receive a special designation and most importantly no schools in the Pointes were designated at "Priority" schools, which is a title reserved for those that are in the bottom five percent in performance.
Grosse Pointe School Performance
The schools given the highest designation by the state include:
They are listed as "reward schools" - a new designation from the state - meaning they are in the top five percent of schools in Michigan and have made significant gains in academic progress during recent years.
“We applaud the hard work and achievement of the educators and students in our Reward Schools because they are zeroed in on improving learning,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan in a press release. “We need to instill that goal in so many more schools, in order to help all kids be career and college-ready and successful in life.”
The changes this year may not matter in the long run. Because of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) , the state in 2012-2013 will no longer be measuring districts based on AYP. Starting next year, school districts will receive accountability scorecards that use five different colors to recognize varying levels of achievement and accountability for each school and district.
The schools given the focus designation--meaning they are among the state's schools with the highest achievement gap between the highest performing students and the lowest performing students--include:
Grosse Pointe Public School District spokeswoman Rebecca Fannon said on the day the reports were released that district officials expected such results. There are some circumstances within the district that impacted the findings, she said.
Among the focus schools are Defer and Ferry, both of which house the district's magnet programs for gift students, Fannon said, explaining the "exacerbates the difference" in student achievement.
Additionally, some of the school's, like Trombly have a wide achievement gap between the highest and lowest performing students within the school, she said, but it's ranked as being in the 95th percentile.
The 95th percentile ranking means the school is performing at or above 95 percent of all schools in Michigan.
"Trombly is still an excellent school," Fannon said of the percentile ranking, it just has a wide gap in learning performance.
Grosse Pointe Public School officials are familiar with addressing achievement gaps. A program at North, the Freshman Assist program, is credited with helping close the achievement gap to help struggling learners. .
Fannon said Pierce Middle School prinicipal Gary Buslepp has also worked on a program for his school with a committee that has worked to address the gap.
New school designations
While AYP was designed to measure student achievement as required by the federal NCLB, the waiver, received last month, frees Michigan from following some of the NCLB rules.
As a result of the waiver, the MDE has identified three new school designations: reward schools, priority schools and focus schools. Not every school fits into one of these categories.
Reward Schools: The top five percent of all Michigan schools in the annual top-to-bottom ranking and the top five percent making the greatest academic progress over the past four years.
Priority Schools: Previously called persistently lowest achieving schools, these are now identified as those in the bottom five percent of the annual top-to-bottom ranking and any high school with a graduation rate of less than 60 percent for three consecutive years. There were 146 priority schools identified this year. These schools will be required to come up with a plan to improve. None of them are in Brighton.
Focus Schools: The 10 percent of schools with the widest achievement gaps, meaning the academic disparity between the top 30 percent of students and the bottom 30 percent. That list includes 358 schools, many who in the past would be considered high-achieving. The schools are now charged with bridging the gap.
“We are committed to closing the achievement gaps in all of our schools for all of our students,” Flanagan said in the release. “With this measure of transparency, schools will be identified and held accountable for the achievement of all of their students.”