Local schools rank high


BIG RAPIDS — Students at Crossroads Charter Academy are passing tests with flying colors, and the statewide statistics are examples of their academic achievement.

On Feb. 3, Bridge Magazine released its 2014 Academic State Champs for Michigan’s school districts.

According to Bridge Magazine online published by the Center for Michigan Organization, school districts are ranked according to the most detailed data analysis ever conducted, taking into account grade-level test results and student income.

Coming in at No. 17 for high schools in the state is Crossroads Charter Academy High School.

Although the high school is No. 17 out of 552, the CCA elementary school is ranking 340 out of 507 and the middle school is 145 out of 627, with an overall ranking of 74 out of 507, according to the rankings.

“Our new principal is doing an excellent job with the elementary kids,” said Pam Duffy, CCA superintendent. “I’m not sure why there is such a huge gap between the schools. I know we do a lot in the elementary school to prepare them for future schooling. We have ‘teacher teams’ wherein which teachers meet up each week and look over the students’ academic standing. They pick apart the data to see how students are getting along and what they need to improve on.”

Because Crossroads is a charter school, it differs from a traditional public school in some ways.

“We answer to the Michigan Department of Education in all areas as far as regulation, board policy and student achievement and assessment,” Duffy said. “We also follow the same standards set by any other public school.

“The difference is that charter schools are independent districts. We can limit the number of students enrolled, can use site-based management to help make our school the best it can be and can take students from all over the state.”

Crossroads Charter Academy’s overall ranking, which is an average score of the school district’s elementary, middle and high school, of 74 is third highest in the district. Reed City Area Public Schools comes in with a ranking of 64, making them No. 1 in the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District based on the Bridge 2014 Academic State Champs statistics.

“I think it’s really exciting to be at the top,” said Tim Webster, superintendent of Reed City Area Public Schools. “But the stats don’t completely depict what we are doing in the school district.”

According to Webster, because low-income students rates are factored into the score, it does not give a completely accurate academic ranking.

“Overall, it’s positive to be No. 1 in the district,” Webster said. “There are so many new things we are working on and we will continue to work on despite the rating.”

Chippewa Hills School District came in at No. 2 in the overall ranking at number 71 out of 507, but also came in at No. 1 in the district for their elementary school ranked 55 out of 653.

“I’m very pleased with our overall ranking,” said Chippewa Hills superintendent, Shirley Howard. “What I’m really happy with is our elementary school ranking. It shows we are doing what we need to be doing.”