Downriver schools land below state expectations in latest MDE rankings

‘Top to Bottom’ rankings
State percentile Ranking
Riverview Community HS 76.0386
Melvindale HS 64.0080
Allen Park HS 59.1891
Roosevelt HS 29.1459
Allen Park MS 33.1007
Strong MS 26.2878
Wilson MS 21.5022
Seitz MS 18.4114

By CHRIS JACKETT
Sunday Times Newspapers

The Michigan Department of Education’s new Top-to-Bottom ranking of schools throughout the state was released Monday.

Based on a federally approved measure of student achievement and academic growth over the past four years, the list was developed using student testing data for math and reading on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program and Michigan Merit Exam from the 2006-07 through 2009-10 school years.

Schools did not receive a statewide ranking if fewer than 30 students were tested in reading and/or math during the past two school years.

Among Downriver school districts, there were large gaps between scores at different schools, even within a single district. For example, Washington Elementary School scored a 67.90 statewide percentile ranking in Wyandotte, while Madison School earned just a 7.51 statewide percentile.

Within Wyandotte Public Schools, Garfield Elementary (65.60) and Jefferson Elementary (58.09) each scored above the midway point, followed by the Lincoln Center (38.75), Monroe Elementary (37.19), Taft Elementary (33.04), Roosevelt High (29.15) and Wilson Middle School (21.50).

Similar differences were observed in the Riverview Community School District. Forest Elementary topped the district with an 86.28 statewide percentile ranking, while Seitz Middle School trailed as the lone school in the district below the midway point at a 18.41 statewide percentile. Riverview Community High School (76.04), Memorial Elementary (66.93) and Huntington Elementary (61.72) rounded out the district.

Further north, Melvindale-North Allen Park Schools saw about a 20 percentile difference between each of its schools. Melvindale High led the way with a 64.01 statewide percentile, followed by Allendale Elementary (43.70) and Strong Middle School (26.29). Rogers Early Elementary was not ranked.

The bulk of Allen Park residents are part of the Allen Park Public Schools, which showed the most consistent scores of the four communities. Arno Elementary scored the highest with a 62.68 statewide percentile, followed by Allen Park High (59.19), Bennie Elementary (56.73), Lindemann Elementary (45.56) and Allen Park Middle School (33.10). Allen Park Community School was not ranked.

All of the aforementioned Downriver schools avoided joining the list of the 92 Persistently Lowest Achieving Schools. However, Lincoln Park Middle School, River Rouge Middle College High School Academy and Taylor Truman High School all were identified by the MDE through state law as members of the bottom 92.

“The lowest performing schools in the state are in distress,” state Supt. of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan said in a press release. “Students in these schools are not receiving the education they need and deserve. That has to change, and we will work together to bring about that change.”

Although nearly half of the bottom 92 schools were from the Detroit Public Schools, the two lowest-ranked schools are both from the Muskegon Heights School District. Muskegon Heights High earned a 0.0 statewide percentile ranking, while Muskegon Heights Middle School earned just an 0.03 percentile ranking.

On the flip end of the list, North Muskegon High, of North Muskegon Public Schools, earned the top grade with a 99.97 percentile ranking, followed by Eastern Middle School of Forest Hills Public Schools, which earned a 99.93 percentile ranking.

Flanagan emphasized that every school throughout the state needs to continue to successfully work at putting instructional strategies in place to raise student achievement.

“Even some of our higher-ranked schools are not adequately preparing students for the next level, and ultimately, college and career,” Flanagan said. “We need to improve outcomes for all students across the state, but most especially in our lowest-ranked schools.”

To view the full list or search for other districts, go to www.michigan.gov/mde.

(Contact Chris Jackett at cjackett@bewickpublications.com)