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Posted on Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Community High School seeks more diversity as lottery process begins this week

By Danielle Arndt

Parents, teachers, administrators and students are doing more to educate prospective parents on the Community High lottery process and to make the alternative Ann Arbor high school accessible to a more diverse population, the school's dean said.

The effort comes because Community typically turns away about 70 percent of incoming-freshmen applicants.

“The sad thing is we don’t get to know the other students who apply,” said Dean Jennifer Hein.

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The Community High School lottery process for the 2012-2013 academic year began this week. Applications are now available on the school's website.

Community has 114 spots available for the upcoming 2012-2013 academic year.

Application packets became available Monday and can be picked up at all AAPS middle schools, the Balas Administration Building and Community High School. Parents also may download a copy from

“We have the largest Caucasian population of all of the high schools (in AAPS),” Hein said. “But in the last four years, we have seen an increase in diversity and we are currently working very hard to reach out to a more diverse student population, which includes race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and students that are different styles of learners.”

She said Community’s School Improvement Team has spent time meeting and speaking with a variety of “collaborators,” such as the University of Michigan and the Black Parents Student Support Group.

“We really want parents of all types to look at us as an option and to have what they need to make an informed decision about whether our expectations match their particular student,” she said.

Hein said it is difficult to control diversity because the Community lottery uses a random, "double-blind" drawing process to select its students and there are no academic or demographic criteria to apply.

But she said the more students that apply, the better the chances are of improving diversity as well as academic success, which she added is always a goal.

Additionally, Community students have traveled to each of Ann Arbor’s six middle schools to try to get younger pupils excited about Community.

Parent Teacher Student Organization Co-chairwoman Emily Nease said Community typically sees the greatest number of applications from Tappan, Slauson and Forsythe middle schools and the lowest number is likely from Scarlett.

Another step administrators have taken to improve accessibility is to offer a Sunday orientation session for parents and interested eighth-grade pupils. Hein said this is the first time Community has hosted a weekend session.

The first of five available orientations for families will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Four additional sessions are scheduled prior to the official lottery day, which is Feb. 14. They are:

  • Jan. 18 — 7 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 22 — 2 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 2 — 7 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 9 — 7 to 8:30 p.m.

All of the orientation meetings will be conducted at the school, 401 N. Division St.

To be considered for a spot in the freshmen class, families of current eighth graders must be residents of the district at the time of application and attend one of the five orientation sessions. Applications are due to Community’s main office by 4 p.m. Feb. 10.

In 2010, more than 400 eighth-graders vied for the 114 ninth-grade spots. Hein said it was the school’s largest applicant pool to date.

Of the children not selected, another approximately 260 had their names added to a waiting list to be called at any time throughout the students’ four years, Hein added.

She said the one thing she would like parents to understand before filling out an application is the decision should be about finding the best “fit” for their child.

“All of the high schools in Ann Arbor are very good, so we are all very fortunate to have great opportunities for students,” Hein said. “This is a campus where the class work is very rigorous.

"… There are no bells, no hall passes, so the level of independence and the level of academic curiosity a student has is very important.”

Nease agreed. She said her two daughters were “on the bubble” of being among the first 114 numbers selected. After several potential students declined their spots, both of Nease’s daughters were offered a place.

“For some students, it's devastating (to not get in),” Nease said. “So I always feel a little bit guilty when I say both of my girls ‘won’ — and it really is, you feel like you’re winning a prize.”

Nease, who has helped with the lottery in the past — not when her children went through the process — said there are student, teacher, parent and administrative representatives in the room at the time the numbers are drawn.

“So there is no way anyone can get away with any shenanigans,” she said.

The names and numbers are then posted on Community’s website, doors and the doors of all the middle schools, Hein said.

Community was founded in 1972 and is one of the oldest public magnet schools in the United States, according to its website. Students who attend Community are often very involved in setting and designing their own curriculum.

Visit the website for more information.

Staff reporter Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Sat, Jan 14, 2012 : 12:20 a.m.

I commend and reaffirm Julia's comments. As a CHS alum who graduated in '04, I originally did not get in via the lottery--I had to wait until second semester of my freshman year to get in from the wait list. (Side note: Community is valuable/beneficial enough to some kids that they wait until their senior years to get in, and they still transfer.) I went to PHS full-time first semester of my freshman year, then took several classes at CHS and PHS second semester. I'm sure some has changed since my high school days, but as far as I know, Pioneer, Huron, and Skyline students are able to take classes at CHS if they're not already offered at their parent schools (likewise, I played in the PHS Symphony because Community didn't have an orchestra). Buses transferred back and forth from each school at various intervals during the day, depositing students from CHS to the other schools and vice-versa. If I could address just a few more of the comments posted above: In my experience, there are many great teachers at Pioneer and Huron, just as there are at Community. In fact, some of the teachers I had now teach there or at Skyline. As far as class size goes, all of my foundations classes (FOS, history, western civ., etc.) were comparable to the bigger schools, though I also took less popular classes and CR courses that were less than 10 students. While I think it's a great idea to increase CHS's diversity, it would not be constructive to absorb it into one of the larger schools. Trying to implement a no-bells schedule or open campus at Pioneer or Huron would be disastrous simply because there are too many kids. After all, part of Community's uniqueness is its location. One of the advantages of Ann Arbor's current high school system is that there's a lot of flexibility. A kid, together with his/her parents, can create a schedule and individualized curriculum that suits their needs. At least, that was what I did, and I really enjoyed my time in high school as a result.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 3:44 a.m.

As a student at Community High, I would like to share my experience with you. I was one of the lucky applicants whose name was drawn during the lottery experience. I was hesitant to attend, mostly due to harsh rumors I had heard from neighbors, classmates, etc. However, I do not regret my decision. I love school. I love my teachers, and I love my classmates. I have had a lot of absences due to health reasons - and yes I still need to make up all of the work I have missed - but I have the support of teachers that I know very well, including my forum leader. I agree that there is a lack of diversity, in fact, my American Lit class discussed it today. Mind you, that class has 35 students - the same max amount per class size at the other high schools. Is the lottery rigged? Absolutely not. It's a lottery that is not new to this criticism, which is why there are many people watching over to ensure that the process is completely random. However, some students are not as lucky as I am - take my brother for example. Last year, he entered the lottery and was number 283 compared to my lucky number 3. Are we addressing the diversity issue? Yes, and it's not that easy. We are reaching out to the middle school visits, and are really focusing on attracting people with more diverse backgrounds: socioeconomic status, race, religion, etc. Perhaps there is some question as to getting to school, but before I got my driver's license, I would bike to Pioneer, hop on a bus to CHS and be on time - if not early - for my first class of the day. It's not hard to get to school if you have the desire to do so. If you don't, then maybe Community is not the right school for you.

Tex Treeder

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

This is part of why I support CHS: students like Julia who have the desire to make CHS's programs work for them even if it means the inconvenience of arranging your own transportation. CHS is the best choice for some while Huron, Pioneer or Skyline or one of the other non-traditional high schools might be best for others. "It's not hard to get to school if you have the desire to do so. If you don't, then maybe Community is not the right school for you." Exactly.

A Voice of Reason

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

Community has less than 9% who receive free and reduced lunch and is 70% white. Also, 114 spots but their enrollment says 124 per year. Where are the extra 10 students coming from? It can be all white if these students would take advantage of Community HS as it was originally intended--alternative education. What we have is a school where students can take advantage of all the best of the other schools--AP classes, great sports, incredible theater and really get the best of AAPS. This school should be closed or moved to Pioneer. These we would save on busing and would not have to justify these students being the sports or theater. Seems like a fair solution.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

Well, I have to agree that the more the other schools do to provide those things - like Skyline's Skytime, and strong CR program - all of the schools' increased flexibility toward CR and online learning, etc. the less there will be a need for Community as it exists today. Although, having that smaller community is difficult to replicate. Even breaking student populations up into "magnets" or "houses" etc. is not quite the same as having your own area. A student who is overwhelmed by large numbers of people in a large building, will still be overwhelmed even if they belong to a smaller group. Although, these smaller "houses" could convene in specific areas of the school building. All things that have probably been discussed already....

say it plain

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 4:17 a.m.

Your statement here captures a good bit of my feelings here about this diversity issue--if CHS were being used as it was intended then it would be lovely to try and get the student body more diverse but not such a 'problem' in principle. Because as it is, what is problematic I think about the lack of diversity is that somehow the poorer and less white kids are not also having the opportunity to go the the school where extra counseling and support helps kids maximize the high potential they have to maintain to at least not 'violate the terms of their contract' as it were while they can still make use of *all* other resources of AAPS. The resources dedicated to providing them with an alternative are considerable--talented teachers counselors and a building with all that this entails. Plus, there's reason to believe that they get extra resources because of their forum system which is merely approximated at Skyline in scope and not even used at all so far as I know at the other schools. Okay, that't outlay enough for something that hardly seems a dedicated 'alternative' philosophically anymore. But then AAPS have to pay for bussing around the kids and the extra drain of their bodies in crowded classrooms and competing for the varsity team spots with the kids who decided to forgo the 'personalized' small school experience?! That seems silly in these tight-budget times for sure...


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

Although it's well and good to 'hope for' diversity, actively seeking or enforcing racial "diversity" in a group is inherently racist, and really just a PC sounding way of saying we want MORE people of X race and therefore LESS of Y... how about equal opportunity? I bet the great Martin Luther King Jr. is turning in his grave.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

Story buried yet old story of "woman kills husband" in the top tier!

Paula Gardner

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 3:15 p.m.

This story was in the "top stories" list starting when it was published Monday afternoon through midday Tuesday.

Basic Bob

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.

The lottery process may seem fair to the individual, but it benefits the groups of people who apply disproportionately to the groups who don't. There can be no diversity unless the poor and minority students choose to put their names in the hat. Many reasons they don't - transportation, access to academic, sports, and music programs, friends, inclusive and welcoming atmosphere toward minorities (definitely at Huron), schedule, etc. To take the transportation issue, many CHS students are able to attend because they live on the bus line to downtown, or have been given a car to drive. Certainly not all, but a significant number compared to those who go to other schools. It is a form of economic exclusion, requiring extra effort from the deserving student who lives in a different location. If these outreach efforts to attain diversity actually succeeded, it would change the character of the school and there would be a strong negative reaction against it, maybe more wealthy kids in private schools, more complaints to the school board, etc. We should use our resources to create the best possible public schools for the largest number of students. That is where CHS ultimately fails.

Tex Treeder

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 3:14 a.m.

What I find most disturbing about the anti-CHS comments here is the feeling that we should "level down" CHS to the warehouse high school level rather than "level up" the warehouses to CHS's level.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 7:08 p.m.

Thanks for your thoughtful comment Tony. I still think that while some of the money follows the student, other money is disbursed across the schools. So, while a student attending, say, a private school, does not use the whole of the resources given to the public school student, they do pay some taxes to that public school. And, while they do profit in as much as having an educated public is a positive thing, should they be disallowed from using the resource more directly that they have helped to pay for? I think it is the same way for a CHS student. That family paid toward an account that followed the student, and they also paid for an account that is disbursed over all of the schools. So, their main "drag" is on their primary school, and then they have a secondary "drag" on another school that also got some of their money. Am I wrong about this?


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

Yes, say it plain, maybe I don't have a grasp of anybody else's grasp of the issues...! You just have several comments in this string, and I generally respect your comments on these blogs, so I happened to try really hard to get to the point of the exact issues you are angry about. I think I understand some of them, and I would agree that my experience in and of itself is somewhat irrelevant in that obviously everyone is different and will have different needs, consequences, outcomes, etc. But my main point is that Ann Arbor is offering both in their traditional schools and in their alternative schools, almost everything that you are saying is not fair that the kids at CHS get. I think it takes some effort at any of the schools, including Community, to keep some kids from falling through the cracks, to getting some kids personalized attention, to working within restrictive environments (I think all of the schools have a behavioral contract), to taking advantage of teacher availability, and to placing them in situations of community building. These are all issues that have affected our family and affect most families. I really believe that you can get these things in any of the schools, although it is more likely to happen if your child is also looking for these things. (Which would be the case in getting these things at Community also.) I also agree that it is hypocritical of CHS supporters to put down the traditional schools as being "warehouse" schools and then using them for their own needs. They should give the traditional schools credit for what they provide. And, I have a big issue with the way Ann Arbor Schools are handling the bussing issue. That is a whole other issue that we could have a lengthy discussion about! What I don't agree on is that you can't get in other Ann Arbor schools what you can get at CHS, or that offerings at the other schools should not be available to CHS students.

Tony Livingston

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

Yes, CincodaMayo, we all pay taxes. But each school gets money according to the students enrolled there. That money covers all of their programs. If someone is enrolled at CHS, the state money goes there. If they go to another school for music, sports, theater, or classes, it is on the dime of that school. Also, the big schools are already very competitive. It is hard enough to win spots in plays, music, and sports teams just competing with other students at that school. When you factor in CHS students coming over that adds additional competition for limited opportunities. I don't think non CHS parents realize how prevalent this is.

say it plain

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 3:44 a.m.

and, just to say, @Cinco de Mayo, do you read only *my* comments on these CHS threads or also the comments of the people like @Tex Treeder who sorta clearly refers in disparaging ways to the other schools?! I don't grasp the extent of your grasp of the other comments here and elsewhere :-)

say it plain

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 3:42 a.m.

Well, @Cinco de Mayo, one aspect of my feeling that it seems wrong for CHS students to take classes elsewhere is the feeling that students are not being well served sometimes at the bigger schools. You could look at some of the comments from parents here to see that (issues with restrictiveness at Pioneer, for instance, or worries about kids falling through the cracks, etc. And if you've followed these CHS threads at all, you'd see that in those too). I wonder whether the money spent on CHS could make the now-less-crowded big schools work better for everyone...for the kids who are having turmoil in their lives but whose grades or behaviors wouldn't let them abide by the 'contract' at CHS, or the kids who might really benefit from the extra community-building that goes on at CHS, or the extra teacher availability etc. That this resource of a small personalised school comes with the concomitant ability to do everything desired at the bigger schools seems wasteful. As well as clearly unfair. You can describe your experience that everything worked out fine for your kids who neither wanted nor needed CHS. But in many ways that's really irrelevant. Of course not many people want such a place. Of course it's a very important thing for some to be there, and you're right that the lottery is a less than ideal way to place people there but heck, what can be done about that really. But that doesn't address the students who fall through the cracks . And this year in particular with the bussing eliminations it was strikingly silly to see money being spent to cart the CHS kids to the other schools to take AP classes when the idea of the school is supposed to be that AP classes are not the way to conduct an education. I also find the consistent 'warehouse' type comments from CHS advocates sort of gallingly annoying, and the hypocrisy of going on about how the other schools stink but there's a class or two there I need to have buses to get my kids to gets tiresome.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 8:16 a.m.

Ideally, every single student would be able to attend the school that most fits their learning needs. Incredibly, Ann Arbor is one city that comes really close to providing that. I have to say, even if your student does not get into their "ideal" school, one of the other schools will come very close to accommodating their needs just as readily. I graduated from Community when it was in danger of closing from lack of demand. With so much turmoil in my life, I could not learn in the confines of the traditional classroom. Thankfully, Community filled a need for me. However, none of my children have had that same need, and, if they did, at this time in Ann Arbor it could be fulfilled in several ways. And, none of my children have "won" the lottery - thank goodness. yet all of them have had the opportunity to attend exceptional public schools here.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 8:12 a.m.

say it plain I am having trouble following what angers you so much about Community students taking "classes/extra-curriculars/sports at the low-level warehouses.". I have really been trying to follow your anger, and I just can't seem to grasp the extent of it. Not everyone wants to go to Community. And, definitely not all parents want their children to go there. There is so much to be said for the larger schools and what they offer without the complexities inherent at Community. I don't see Community trying to tear others down. And, I do see the other schools attempting to offer more of what Community has been offering (alternative classes at all schools, skytime at Skyline, etc.) In regards to Community students taking advantage of sports and extra-curriculars at the other schools, do not those families pay taxes that are distributed over all of the schools? It *is* a matter of luck for those who really want to go Community to be able to go there. That is because a better way of choosing which students will be able to go there has not materialized. The lottery in place now is more fair than the old system where those who had the time and resources to place themselves at the front of the line got in. And the lottery is less fair than figuring out who could really benefit the most from this type of educational setting. Because while fair is not random, it is also not equal.

say it plain

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 5:50 a.m.

My goodness this warehouse rhetoric is tiresome. Please consider lobbying for the first step in your 'level up' plan to be "spend the money to incorporate CHS-inspired programs in the big schools" by saving some money from the drag of allowing CHS students to take classes/extra-curriculars/sports at the low-level warehouses?! And you're going to claim that there isn't an elitism happening at CHS lol? At least the real elites in town, the ones who pony up for private school, know better than to use such rhetoric in public ;-) Maybe given the advanced level of life at CHS, really, it should move to a test-in system and then just *really* be a school for the intellectually gifted, instead of the lucky :-) Then at least it might lose this apparent need to build itself up by tearing others down, and its purpose would be clear again! Where, I ask, is the *Community* in Community if its advocates must resort to such? Tell us, then, how we could all 'level up' to CHS's standards?


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 11:05 p.m.

I'm not sure that it's fair to write so much about the "demand" of kids wanting to go to Community. I do see that expanding Community or community-esque schools would be a good idea considering there are many that do want to attend and don't get the chance to because of the lottery. However, it's unfair to say that other schools aren't working just as well... I mean I know for sure that there are just as many kids at say, Huron that wouldn't want to attend Community as there are kids that applied and didn't get in. [and that would be an understatement, considering the size difference] I've never attended Community but I know everyone who goes there loves it, and I respect that and wish that everyone who wanted to go there could go. I just don't feel like it's fair to use the good example of Community High to shine a bad light on the "other high schools."


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 7:48 a.m.

Good points musicrat. There are definitely students who appreciate Pioneer and Huron (and Skyline, too) for what they are and have no interest at all in attending Community. Not only that, but these students can often have a superior educational experience at any one of the other schools. We have so many - Pioneer, Huron, Skyline, Ann Arbor Tech, WTMC, Washtenaw International High School.... all of which have so much to offer in their own ways!

CHS Sudent

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

Community is not for "white elitests" it my not be as "diverse" as the big schools but it has a good mix in my opinion, and maybe before you make generalazations you should come and see Community for yourself


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 2:36 p.m.

Maybe they should go back to first come, first served , having parents camp out on the school lawn to get in.

Dr. I. Emsayin

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

One of the benefits of attending Community High is the Forum, where students have a home room teacher and cohort for four years. They have a guidance counselor and a Forum Leader, which allows them to get a lot of personal attention and build a group of friends. It would be great if Huron and Pioneer had this type of system where the teachers had the same homeroom for four years and took the students on field trips and helped them learn social and study skill skills. Perhaps it would be too expensive for the teachers at the large high schools to be released from one class period to do this, but it seems that in the large schools this would be more needed to help those kids who fall through the cracks at a larger, more impersonal school.

say it plain

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 1:24 a.m.

Maybe they could afford to do this at Pioneer and Huron if CHS didn't exist, with its facility upkeep, with its busing, with its reproduction of everything for the sake of one group of 400 kids. Maybe someone should finally work the numbers to see if it would be possible to fund such support for the kids at the comprehensive schools, or at least some reasonable approximation of it. But we'd need to have leadership from Dr. Green to do it. We'd have to have her say hmm, what is Skyline trying to do with their skytime idea and their slogans of "relationship based education"? Even if this is not being instantiated as well as it could be there, at least that was the idea, and I sense that there are people there still committed to it. Community has an easy time allowing so much freedom and personal responsibility compared to the other schools--because as @Stuart Brown pointed out, they can *kick people out*! Huron Pioneer and Skyline cannot without a *lot* of irresponsibility going down! Skyline's mastery system at least tries to stop kids from doing 'too badly' before something rather drastic must start happening...why don't we do that at the other schools too? There are things one can do to change school cultures. But yes, it needs to happen in the context of *relationships*...

Tony Livingston

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:45 p.m.

It would be great if Pioneer would do something like the forums. But, it won't happen under the current leadership. The priority is control and moving everyone through in an efficient way. In the 4 years I have had kids there, it has become more restrictive every year. Freedom/personal responsibility and personal relationships are at the bottom of the list.

Hot Sam

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

Diversity comes from the Latin "dividere"... Verb present active d?vid?, present infinitive dividere, perfect active d?v?s?, supine d?v?sum. 1. I divide, separate. 2. I distribute, apportion. 3. I distinguish as separate. When are we going to return to celebrating unity and not division?

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1 p.m.

1. Ann Arbor is overwhelmingly white. If it weren't, Community probably would not exist. Is this fair? 2. Recent and continued socio-economic divides between blacks and whites has continued to grow in Michigan, hence Ann Arbor remains largely white and has an above average concentration of people making more than 75k + a year and levels of education than anywhere else in the state. 3. Factor in the correlation between education and socio-economic level? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone? 4. Education, for the most part, is not valued among the socio-economically challenged. Can you blame them? Especially, an 'alternative' education which seems a bit ridiculous to a family that struggles to make ends meet. 4. Community High should absolutely focus on recruiting non-whites and more women. Especially, kids of University of Michigan students, professors, and foreign guest-workers all of which would add real diversity to the school and to the curriculum as a whole.

say it plain

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 1:14 a.m.

See, now, people are thinking you were being earnest when clearly it's facetiousness that wins the day around here, sadly...

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

My assertions are sweeping your shortsighted viewpoints under the rug where they belong.

Tex Treeder

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:04 p.m.

1. Wrong. A2 is predominantly white, but CHS owes its origins to the social events of the 60s and 70s, not the ethnic makeup of A2's inhabitants. 2. The logical connection is flawed here. Socio-economic divisions are increasing, therefore A2 remains white. This is not a causal relationship. 3. Higher education correlates with socio-economic level: true. What is your point? 4. A sweeping statement about education preferences. I'm not sure of the validity. I would argue that those looking to improve their socio-economic standing would prefer the best education available at the same price. If CHS offers a better education, wouldn't that be the preferred choice? 5. (4b, above). CHS does focus on recruiting. There are already a significant number of children whose parent(s) are employed by UM, not surprising since UM is the biggest employer in the county. I'm not sure how many UM students have kids of high school age. Some graduate students, perhaps, but I'm betting the number is fairly small. I'm ambivalent about "foreign guest-workers." I would limit the number of students whose parents are not legal permanent residents of the US.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

I seriously don't get the point of these Community High articles. Those who have attended or have/had children attend will defend it tooth and nail regardless. New names, same comments. Anyone who questions it's financial viability, diversity, fairness in regard to AAPS busing CHS students to other schools for other classes, either anti-education or bitter because their child supposedly didn't get in. The dialogue is always the same. So again, what is the point?


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 2:02 a.m.

I have serious doubts that that is possible, to be honest. It would be interesting to see the numbers though.

say it plain

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 1:12 a.m.

Is it possible that someday someone in administration will care about the resources spent on the place?! I mean, do the people who advocate for it truly constitute some higher caste in this town? It seems silly for it to continue to be a moot point to bring up given how deep the cuts we're making are, no? At what point does someone really do a hard-hitting analysis to see if the AAPS would be better off without it? I find the sacred cow aspect of it sorta fascinating in a grim way...


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 11:39 a.m.

The reason CHS is such a fantastic school is because it is small and it emphasizes relationships, personal autonomy for both staff and students, and the responsibilities that come with freedom. Academic excellence follows these key components in a natural, organic way. You could run such a school inside of a tent and have similar success - without any high tech labs.

Tony Livingston

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

Actually, I think it would be a very different situation if CHS students only attended CHS. As it stands, there are very large numbers of them who go to Pioneer, Huron, and Skyline and take AP classes, participate in fantastic theater programs, play sports, and participate in award winning music programs. CHS does not need to provide any of this because the students are able to simply go to the other schools and participate at someone else's expense. Personally, I think kids should pick a school and stick with it. If you pick a special school like CHS, then go there for everything. I don't think people realize how many CHS lottery winners are at Pioneer every single day.

say it plain

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

Then why should CHS need to make use of the other schools at all? They are lucky to have their happy tent, let's see how their outcomes are without all the other stuff AAPS offers?! That seems at the very least the right way to go...

Stuart Brown

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 7:52 a.m.

My son went to CHS and this article raised my eyebrows. One of the reasons that "'We have the largest Caucasian population of all of the high schools (in AAPS),' Hein said..." is due to the fact that many of my son's African American friends were forced out of the school after having been admitted. I found Basic Bob's analysis highly cogent about how Skyline was built and I would point out that Peter Ways, the former dean of the school, was highly involved in selling the millage approval to the public. I would also point out that myself and my wife noticed a large number of children of Skyline contractors at the school as well (however, this is an empirical observation.) My wife and I believe that what the school was doing was systematically removing students with low social economic status (disproportionately African American) under the guise of various excuses. This would then allow the school to pick and choose who to let in. I'm not impressed with the supposed objectivity of Community's Lottery process. The fact is there are numerous ways to rig who gets in. For example, how do we know that the kids selected in the lotto are the ones who actually show up on opening day (the article referenced numbers and did not mention published names drawn from the lotto pool?) How do we know if whether or not some kids get selected due to the fact that their name is entered multiple times in the selection pool? They can also kick so called "undesirables" out after the selection process has ended. They can also have a true lotto for most kids who make up the lower tier while having a reserved higher tier for other kids for whatever reason (they could announce that some kids selected in the lotto declined an invitation and then select who they want for the freed up spots.) We don't know if any of this goes on and we won't because only a select few individuals actually are involved with the selection process.

Stuart Brown

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 7:34 a.m.

Cossur, your use of the term "contract" is highly dissengenuous since the use of the term implies a meeting of minds after mutual discussion and give and take. No such process occurs; the "contract" is take it or leave it. The student either agrees to the standard language as is or is not permitted to enroll. This means the "contract" is really a set of rules that the school sets and the student is expected to follow.

say it plain

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 3:23 a.m.

I love it when people talk about warehouse high schools, but don't think it shouldn't be the case that CHS students should *not* have the opportunity to take classes at those 'warehouses' lol! If you truly care about getting rid of the 'warehouse' effect, then why not work toward getting the 'best practices' from CHS to everywhere? The rhetoric of 'warehouses' versus 'the one good place for those who truly care about education' is divisive, elitist, and patently hypocritical given the frequent using of the resources at those horrific other schools?! I think conspiracy theories are common when there seems to be some unevenly allotted access to resources, just to say. Maybe this sort of phenomenon gets covered in one of the 'effective' educational sessions happening in Community High classrooms, maybe only in the AP history courses at the warehouse schools or the must-take Humanities classes there ;-) I totally believe it is random and well managed, by the way...just trying to explain why you get this sort of response sometimes. Also, the difference between "kicked out" and "mutually agreed this isn't a good match" is essentially nil in its effect on the school's numbers and management issues. Students who aren't performing well might disproportionately come from lower SES settings, and heck...if the talented math teachers are busy conducting afterschool sessions to get the AP calculus kids (a good number of whom are actually taking the class at their non-'home' school as well ;-) ) up to speed, then who is available for the extra help the low-performing kids might need?! Yes, I can easily imagine some counseling 'sessions' that end with the 'maybe you'd be better off with the math recovery program at Huron'...and voila! higher ACT scores for Community in the process! Perfect for further elite recruiting! No big 'conspiracy', just a series of events that come together to make a certain kind of picture overall...

Tex Treeder

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

Sigh. There's no convincing a conspiracy theorist. My child was accepted at CHS. I never tried to advocate for her simply because it wasn't an option. The process was easy and random as far as I know. The only requirements I know of are listed above: attending one of the orientation session and getting a low number in the lottery. Personally, I'd like to see all the high schools function like CHS. The warehouse high school may give the appearance of efficiency, but education isn't about efficiency. It's about effectiveness.

Dr. I. Emsayin

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

Students at Community and Clemente agree to a "contract" which means they can get sent back to their home school if they do not do well. That is why Community has such high test scores and fewer discipline issues. Huron can't send their troubled students to Community, who might do better in that environment.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 12:40 p.m.

Question about the lottery and I am not accusing anyone of anything. Do any of those involved in the lottery process have kids who go to Community or is an outside agency or whatever used?


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 11:51 a.m.

All of that COULD happen. And it doesn't. YOU don't know because you haven't been involved. Talk to those who have been. If a student's name is chosen (and no student's name is in the mix multiple times) and that student declines for whatever reason, the bid goes to the next person on the list. And that list is the entry list until that class graduates. Why do you feel the need to assume the lottery is "rigged?" Further, to my knowledge no student is "kicked"out. Enrollees agree to a contract and if they aren't meeting it's requirements counseling happens. If nothing improves it's more like a mutual departure. And yes, that did happen with two of my children so I DO know.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:51 a.m.

According to this article there's something wrong with a high school that has a majority of caucasian students. Now, if the reverse were true, and Community had a majority of Black, Asian, or other minority, would this article have been written? Would administrators be demanding more diversity? I think you know the answer.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.

Cincodemayo You bring up an excellent point! And while I do agree with you...another irony is that Ann Arbor Open was originally supposed to be at Bryant (according to the desegregation report in 1970s) but too many citizens were concerned about having it in a lower-income area (might not attract upper-income students was the reasoning). I think we might consider moving the location of these schools to lower SES areas in order to attract a more diverse crowd.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 7:32 a.m.

Hilton, In the past I have made the same complaint as you - "--who is bussed the most in Ann Arbor? the poor and the minorities, not the white or wealthy Burns Park, the King or the Angell Kids..." But, ironically the complaint from some here is that the poor, minorities, and those in more difficult situations can not get to the school (Community). So, is it wrong to bus them so that they can go there?!!

Gil Eisbruch

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 11:34 p.m.

I was a senior at CHS last year, and while i understand why a school would want to present its self as diverse and not almost totally caucasian for potentially superficial reasons, it is very obvious as a student that many of your classmates have similar ethnic backgrounds and all that. I personally would have loved to have a more diverse student body to interact with, and so I support this effort to diversify.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

Hilton, thnks for that post. That's interesting. Basically, danged if you do, danged if you don't. Go figure. I wonder when we will stop worrying about what looks good and just get back to doing what's right?


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 5:12 a.m.

Actually---check out the history of Ann Arbor Public Schools and Desegregation...they did demand that their mostly black school (Jones Elementary) in the 70s (ironically it was in the current Community building) be integrated with whites. But instead they bussed all the black students to Northside and closed the school. Ann Arbor has been working on this for a long time and the black students have suffered the most (---who is bussed the most in Ann Arbor? the poor and the minorities, not the white or wealthy Burns Park, the King or the Angell Kids...). <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Basic Bob

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:36 a.m.

There is something wrong with it, but don't worry, nothing will change.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:29 a.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> You can have it one way, but not the's the way of the liberal world.

Tony Livingston

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 2:44 a.m.

Not only do Community students get very dedicated teachers, a great guidance counselor, and lots of freedom, they also go to the big schools and participate in their sports, music, and theater programs. Every year, 114 students get the best of both worlds.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

I think people taking the attitude that anyone can find a way to Community as long as they have gumption, etc..are not taking other things into consideration. Maybe the kid who is watching a younger sibling until their parent gets home from the late shift can't take the early shuttles. There are a lot of things going on in some kids' lives' that many could never imagine and jumping through hoops to get to school is probably not always going to take priority. Like aa.parent suggested, the idea of wanting to increase diversity is good in theory, but transportation is always going to be a problem for some, no matter how badly they want to get into Community. Also, and I'm sure I'll get blasted for this, lol, but I just don't get this &quot;I won the Community High lottery&quot;, but oh, I'm also going to be taking some classes at Pioneer or Skyline or Huron. Is that reciprocal? Are Pioneer/Skyline/Huron students able to take a class at Community? I have not experienced AAPS high schools yet so I really don't know.

say it plain

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 5:28 a.m.

Great additional info and points @Dr. Emsayin! All the more reason why CHS students should stick to the 'alternative' and not be allowed to take classes at the other schools. If CHS had to endure reduced offerings so as to keep their program 'alive', but they can still weigh on the increasingly overcrowded and underfunded classes (including those that apparently are 'must have' but 'not offered here' as a former student has commented on this thread) and activities like sports and music, then the whole program's existence makes little sense, imo. Then it seems completely clear--especially given the situation with bussing, and wherein kids were told they can't even get the bus to and from school anymore in their districted areas but too far for safe walking while CHS kids get carted around for the classes their program 'doesn't offer'?! But sorry, they can't be expected to accomodate the students from the big schools?! How does *that* work precisely as a feature of AAPS?

Dr. I. Emsayin

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

It is easy for a CHS student to get into Pioneer and Huron classes because there are so many of them, and courses like band and orchestra have no upper limit. On the other hand, it is almost impossible to make a Huron or Pioneer or Skyline's student schedule fit into Community's schedule because of the fewer number of courses offered and because Community has had cuts that impacted the number of courses they can offer. Also, traditional school kids are not allowed to take science at CHS and the traditional school requires that they take 9th and 10th grade English at their home school as CHS has different courses that don't cover the same curriculum.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 12:16 p.m.

Agree, say it plain. How about it, can we see the numbers in the past years of how many large school kids take Community classes and vice versa?

say it plain

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 5:28 a.m.

It had been my understanding that it's not 'merely' because CHS is 'small' that they don't offer APs, but...and it's sorta interesting to see that it maybe isn't even part of the student culture there anymore to acknowledge it?!...that they *don't think APs are a good thing*. No? Has that changed? I thought CHS was supposed to be a place where tracking was discouraged, and where there are no &quot;accelerated&quot; courses offered either. You know, &quot;alternative&quot;. Not merely &quot;lotto-lucky--we get *everything*!&quot; I don't get this scene where you can take courses at the other schools--very often the ones that eat the most teacher resources from the large schools, like AP courses and interaction-intensive courses like &quot;humanities&quot; (I presume), and even music other than Jazz and musical theater, *and* have all the individual attention that you naturally get at the small intimate forum-including CHS. And I would love to see the numbers of CHS students who take AP or other classes at the other schools versus the numbers of kids from the large schools who take Dance Body or Jazz Band. I'm guessing it's pretty lopsided, but I've never seen numbers presented on this issue, ever!

Gil Eisbruch

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:08 a.m.

Many Community students split enroll with the big schools and vice versa. The rule is that you must take at least 50% of your classes at your &quot;home&quot; school. A big reason CHS students take other schools' classes is that because CHS is so small, it can't offer every class. For example, there are no AP classes at Community. Calc teacher Anne Thomas hosts weekly AP study sessions for those students wishing to take the AP test, but many students go to Huron of Pioneer to take AP classes. Also, a very popular course that Rainbow Zebras take outside of CHS is humanities, which is considered a &quot;must take&quot; at the big schools but is not offered at Community. Huron and Pioneer students have the option to take classes at Community as well, and many do take Dance Body or participate in the CHS Jazz Band, both uniquely amazing programs at Community. The types of classes offered at the big schools and CHS compliment each other very well, and most students that take advantage of dual-enrolling are grateful for that opportunity.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 2:17 a.m.

During the early planning stages for our &quot;new&quot; high school, which became Skyline, a vocal community expressed the need to create multiple, smaller magnet schools throughout Ann Arbor. This would have been easier and cheaper to accomplish than building a brand new, comprehensive, and very expensive &quot;big box&quot; school, as the district had an overabundance of unfilled elementary schools, while the big box high schools were overcrowded. Community High, after all, is really just a great program housed in an old, run-down elementary school. This was a great idea for expanding school and program diversity throughout the district, while reducing high school crowding - all at a comparatively low cost. How easy it would have been to repurpose old, small buildings and turn them into dynamic and innovative schools, just like the district has done with Community and Open. The problem with this great idea was that then superintendent George Fornero would hear none of it. He was planning on moving up in the world, and needed to show that he could sell this district on a giant, expensive &quot;school of the future,&quot; complete with a fancy windmill on top. Once construction started on that money pit, he took a swanky job in the Chicago suburbs and fled the city under cover of darkness.

say it plain

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 5:17 a.m.

You know @Basic Bob, I've never really felt before that closing CHS was a 'reasonable' option, but more and more, given the cuts that we are having to endure and the dwindling numbers of students who can bring their money-allotments with them to AAPS, it feels like to at least *consider* which good things about CHS might be brought to the comprehensive schools as part of a 'new page' for our district would be very 'reasonable'. The missed boat on small schools instead of skyline is looong missed now. This town is crazy for sports and fancy science labs are not a bad thing in principle and neither is the 'mastery' system Skyline tries to instill, nor the idea of trying to start anew with a new and improved AAPS 'big-school' culture. Imagine if the money being spent on maintaining CHS could be spent on decent counseling and forum-like systems (skyline tries to do that with its much smaller-scale skytime) and more systems in place for helping students like skyline also tries to do but that CHS is supposed to be fantastic at? And I still wonder what demand would be like at CHS if students there didn't get to take classes at the other schools or play with their sports teams. But these are such no-go zones as ideas for AAPS it seems...perhaps for the very reason you cite; too bad.

Basic Bob

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:31 a.m.

Good revision of history. Fornero was the man who rubber stamped the plan that the board had already selected. Go back to his predecessor who disagreed with the board on the financial viability and need for a third large school. She was promptly forced out. Fornero was not the man with the plan, he was just the yes man they wanted. Why would he stick around to face the inevitable financial problems? Now that Pioneer and Huron have been down-sized, the only realistic option left is to close the smaller school. But then again, pragmatism is not taught or valued in Ann Arbor. They would rather cancel programs and services for the political underclass.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:08 a.m.

I stood in line and survived!

Gil Eisbruch

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:10 a.m.

cool story, bro


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 12:38 a.m.

Skyline also has a lottery which opens up the school to the entire district. Many students apply to both Skyline and Community. In many respects, Skyline is an alternative to the other two large high schools. The concept of mastery is helping Skyline students achieve higher than they might otherwise. My child was number 300+ in the Community lottery a few years ago and attends Skyline. Skyline is a great match. The teachers go above and beyond to help the students achieve success. Plus, Skyline is diverse. However, because of the change in the bussing for high school students, some of the lottery students did not attend Skyline this year so the freshman class is smaller than the previous ones. It is easier to get to Community High via The Ride than to Skyline. The size of the school is one of the things that helps Community be what it is. To make it larger (physical plant or number of students) would change it.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 7:18 a.m.

Gardener1, I agree with you 100%. Both schools are an alternative to Pioneer and Huron. And, the teachers do go above and beyond at Skyline. They are amazing. And, bussing to Skyline is much more difficult than bussing to Community. Almost all bussing eventually heads downtown - making Community extremely accessible. Bussing to Skyline for out-of-area (not out of Ann Arbor) students is totally inadequate. For the most part, it is non-existent for after school extra-curriculars, or sports. I think this conversation over bussing is actually two different discussions - one addresses simply getting a bus to and from the school (Commmunity is far more accessible). And, the other is about the bussing offered between schools for those students taking classes at Community and either Pioneer or Huron.

say it plain

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 5:28 a.m.

OOps, meant to post the above under a different comment, sorry...

say it plain

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 5:27 a.m.

Great additional info and points @Dr. Emsayin! All the more reason why CHS students should stick to the 'alternative' and not be allowed to take classes at the other schools. If CHS had to endure reduced offerings so as to keep their program 'alive', but they can still weigh on the increasingly overcrowded and underfunded classes (including those that apparently are 'must have' but 'not offered here' as a former student has commented on this thread) and activities like sports and music, then the whole program's existence makes little sense, imo. Then it seems completely clear--especially given the situation with bussing, and wherein kids were told they can't even get the bus to and from school anymore in their districted areas but too far for safe walking while CHS kids get carted around for the classes their program 'doesn't offer'?! But sorry, they can't be expected to accomodate the students from the big schools?! How does *that* work precisely as a feature of AAPS?


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 2:54 a.m.

The public bus to Skyline is totally inadequate. Which I know because my child tried to use it for two years, and was often late.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:01 p.m.

I agree with jns131....I think the writing is on the wall about the future of high school bussing. My youngest desperately wants to attend Community, but I won't be entering him in the lottery. I expect high school bussing to be eliminated in the next year or two, and I am just too worried about how my kid will get to school for 4 years. I'm sure I can get into a neighborhood carpool for Skyline but not for Community.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

Actually AATA has a busing system that does go out there and I believe they get students to school on time. Not sure how it works, but from what I remember seeing, I did see a number of them out there. Otherwise, time to start walking 3 miles. As I see it? HS busing will eventually come to an end.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 12:34 a.m.

Looks like the &quot;Diversity Train&quot; wants a permanent stop in AA. Here come da Judge!


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 11:11 p.m.

@ Danielle -Could you explain or ask about the transportation/access to Community High? Hein's quote is admirable, but unless parents are able to drive their kids or live in walking distance to the school, can the district expect to increase minority enrollment at Community without also committing the dollars to transportation to allow equal access to the program? I am not questioning Hein's sincerity but my question is about the Balas/District funding for transportation. The Community High Principal has no say over the bus schedule. If you put together this quote from Hein's in your article today: Community High School Dean Hein : "But in the last four years, we have seen an increase in diversity and we are currently working very hard to reach out to a more diverse student population, which includes race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and students that are different styles of learners." with this quote: Superintendent's quote from your Jan. 8 article : &quot;There has to be, in my mind, … greater accountability. … There is a template that I developed in terms of goals and objectives that are aligned to each strategy in the strategic plan. Tell me, what is the major goal and the objective of what you are doing and focusing on. How is it aligned to the strategic plan. … If it's not aligned with it, is it an essential operation? Show me how there's evidence of measurability. What are the benchmark dates during which this activity will be taking place? And then I've added to it what I call mid-year formative data and end-of-year summative data, so that we link what we're doing to an accountability measure.&quot; What will the superintendent do to follow through to make Community high able to offer a viable option for families from different socio-economic backgrounds ?


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 7:05 a.m.

This is interesting - the possible inequity to Skyline students. As a Community High School graduate who now has children in several Ann Arbor schools I have noticed how, over the decades, Community has taken on a more traditional structure, while the other schools have seemed to become more accommodating. I have noticed Skyline, in particular, promoting Community Resource learning, which was once the backbone and defining idea of Community High School. Could it be that Skyline is trying to make it easier for their students to experience the same type of experience as those at Community have historically had? Really, I am amazed at all Ann Arbor attempts to offers through all of their schools.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 6:11 p.m.

@say it plain - I think that Skyline students are in an inequitable position because unlike Community High students, they cannot dual enroll at Pioneer or Huron. I was not in favor of Skyline being built. Now that it is here, having one high school that is on trimesters while the others are on semesters is not equitable. Skyline seems to be a mix between a traditional and alternative school with magnet programs.

say it plain

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:56 a.m.

@aaparent, I think you must mean that there are new challenges to CHS students who want to do as they often do--take advantage of all the big less personal schools while getting all that personal attention at their 'home' school? Skyline's trimester system is a challenge to those other kids know, the unlucky Skyline-district ones who are allegedly still able to make use of CHS as the AAPS-wide resource it gets touted as being. But which it isn't. Especially not for Skyline students, who cannot really easily at all (even harder time than the regular hassles for them about it!) participate in the often-mentioned (though not so much here, which is interesting...apparently the big issue here is solely whether CHS is diverse enough, not whether it makes any sense that the students who are lucky in the lottery should also get carted about to the other schools to make use of more AAPS resources) opportunity to take classes at Community.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:11 a.m.

@Gil -Congratulations on graduating and thank you for posting the bus schedule. Transportation between high schools is not the same issue as getting to Community high school from a home in other middle school neighborhoods than Tappan, Forsythe and parts of Slauson. For some students who go to Clague or Scarlett and even areas in the Forsythe and Slauson neighborhoods, there is not bus service to Community at the start and end of school. For some kids, getting a driver's license does not mean they get a car (I'm not suggesting that you said or implied this) Another problem in the district is that Skyline is on a trimester schedule so dual enrollment options aren't easy to work out if a Community high student wants to take a class at Skyline. The bus schedule you posted does not allow for kids at Community to go to Skyline which is on a different bell schedule than the other 3 high schools. There are new inequities in the district now that Skyline is in operation.

Gil Eisbruch

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 12:40 a.m.

I was a CHS senior last year and graduated with the class of 2011. Things may have changes with recent budget cuts, but through my four years transportation to Community was just as accessible as transportation to Huron or Pioneer. There were school busses for CHS part time students that went between Community and the bigger high schools throughout the day, including one arriving at Community first thing in the morning. I had friends who would take the school bus to Huron just like Huron students, then hop on the shuttle bus to Community and would be at school in time for first block. The shuttle bus schedule is listed here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Hope this helps.

Danielle Arndt

Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

@aaparent and DC - I think you both raise an important point about transportation impacting access to Community (and I know this applies to other schools as well) but, aaparent, I would be happy to raise your question for you. I will let you know what the response is.


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

Seeking out diversity ... When my children are older, I'll be looking for the most upper class school I can afford and I won't be asking for special handouts based off their skin color. Handouts = liberals and if that happens, then I failed my children.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:46 a.m.

Bloomfield Hills is the most elite of all schools in the area. Next to Cranbrook. Just a thought if you are looking now.


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 10:34 p.m.

Sounds like a good way the insure that &quot;Rich White Kids&quot; all go to school together. Anybody who is a minority or living paycheck to paycheck doesn't have the time, the energy, or know the process on how to get their kids into the &quot;ELITE&quot; Community High School. &quot;"We have the largest Caucasian population of all of the high schools (in AAPS)," Hein said.&quot;


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 6:47 a.m.

cowbelle wrote: &quot;Knowing the process is not hard, every 8th grader sits through a visit from Community students and counselors. They make trips to every middle school in the district to make sure kids are aware of another option.&quot; However, ironically when applied to this comment string, the one type of middle school in Ann Arbor that Community does not seem to make visits to are the private (some would call &quot;elite&quot;) religious schools in the area. Many of the students from these schools apply, but only after hunting down the information themselves regarding the process.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

I was kidding, Cossur, but it sounds like I hit a nerve, lol.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 11:28 a.m.

An added coment directed to &quot;thecompound&quot; I NEVER play the lottery--My husband calls it a tax on people with poor math skills. And NONE of my kids got in by the lottery. In earlier times the demand was not nearly as high and students who applied were accepted. By the latter ones, they dual enrolled until their names came up as eligible. One daughter attended Pioneer, Community and WCC, all during the same semester. By the time the latest graduate was actually accepted as a Community student, his teachers there didn't know he hadn't been one all along. I repeat, it's the interest and the desire that's required.

Monica R-W

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:38 a.m.

JNS 131.... WTH does that suppose to mean. Belleville or VBPS is full of diverse schools two of which, BOTH of my children attended. We LIVED in the district. Belleville) (VBPS has for years limited the number of School-of-Choice transfers because the district is LARGE. Either way, its amazing that you hear of all the issues with budget, large classrooms, issues are at AAPS and not VBPS. In fact, BHS has build one of the NEWEST high schools in the area and its' beautiful. Glad my tax dollars helped to support this. Either way, you need to look pass your obvious biases. Either way, leave VBPS out of it. They are dealing well with the state budgetary cuts. No drama over here!


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 2:08 a.m.

Cossur, you might want to try playing the real lottery---you are very lucky to have been won the Community lottery 5 times!


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

Knowing the process is not hard, every 8th grader sits through a visit from Community students and counselors. They make trips to every middle school in the district to make sure kids are aware of another option. I've been on several of those middle school visits, we hand out pamphlets and even applications. Now whether the information from the sessions makes it home is up to the kids. I also took the shuttle bus from Huron everyday for three years of high school. I know budget cuts were discussed on how often the shuttles would run, but those shuttles required very little effort on my parents part.


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

I think the article tells you the process. Perhaps you missed that. Interesting opinion, though. Statistically, double blind lotteries are race biased how?


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 10:53 p.m.

It takes negligible time, energy or knowledge to get into Community! The main thing it takes is INTEREST. I don't have a solution for adding to the diversity. I DO think I hold the record of being the parent of the greatest number of graduates-5. And I hold the school in the highest regard. Moving it to the Skyline building would not be a winning move. It';s location is part of it's success. But the biggest part in my opinion is the nature of the teachers. My six children attended at least 8 different schools within the Ann Arbor School district. None could come close to the dedication of the Community teachers. They simply are willing to go far above and beyond what would be expected of a teacher. I would like EVERY single student to have the Community experience, HOWEVER, it is NOT the right placement for every student. Two of my children chose to leave there (one returned to graduate from CHS) finding it not what they needed. The primary cost I found was the personal responsibility and initiative of the individual student. One son collected pop cans each day to pay for his bus fare home. He apologized for being late the one day he was unable to find enough in time. Finally there is no way my family could be considered &quot;RICH WHITE KIDS.&quot; Yes they are white but our wealth is NOT reflected in our finances but rather in our interest.


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

&quot;Parent Teacher Student Organization Co-chairwoman Emily Nease said Community typically sees the greatest number of applications from Tappan, Slauson and Forsythe middle schools and the lowest number is likely from Scarlett.&quot; The district needs to provide more transportation to/from Community. It is not about diversity, I don't believe. It is more around the issue of access...those families who can adjust to regular school schedule changes, and bear the cost of personal transportation, gain from Community's personalized curriculum. Without consistent transportation, especially after school, families from the Scarlett home district area will face many challenges trying to have their child attend Community. And I'm sorry Community HS staff...AATA isn't the answer to the transportation issues either.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

We used to take the Packard bus or ride our skateboards to Community.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:45 a.m.

I'm a 2001 grad (oh god really been that long?!) and I had to take the AATA bus home because I got out of school around 3:30. I could have waited over an hour at Community for a shuttle bus I think, but I didn't want to. The school gave us afternoon bus passes. So I took the AATA bus home. Granted it did take me an hour to get home that way. There were no bus stop near my house. Now there are. Oh well. It works.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

They use school buses at certain intervals during the day to get children from Community to either Huron or Pioneer or Skyline. Or reverse. AATA does not have anything to do with this at all. Although we choose Pioneer because of a direct bee line to Pioneer using AATA. Beats walking 3 miles a day.

Gil Eisbruch

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 12:45 a.m.

I was a CHS senior last year and graduated with the class of 2011. Things may have changes with recent budget cuts, but through my four years transportation to Community was just as accessible as transportation to Huron or Pioneer. There were school busses for CHS part time students that went between Community and the bigger high schools throughout the day, including one arriving at Community first thing in the morning. I had friends who would take the school bus to Huron just like Huron students, then hop on the shuttle bus to Community and would be at school in time for first block. I personally took a shuttle bus to Huron at the end of the day and hopped on the school bus going to my neighborhood from Huron that my middle school friends were on. I never NEEDED to pay for the public bus or provide my own transportation to get to school. It does require showing some initiative and desire to get to school, and if you're not willing to transfer busses in the morning, CHS probably isn't the school for you. The shuttle bus schedule is listed here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Danielle Arndt

Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 9:25 p.m.

I didn't include it in the story, but the dean stated class size is one of the "biggest myths" surrounding Community High School. She said many people believe the classes are smaller, but the school follows the same contractual standards as the other buildings in the district. So there are some classes that have 30 to 35 kids. But I'd be interested in hearing what other parents' and students' experiences were like at Community… Care to share?

Angry Moderate

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 7:01 a.m.

Community class sizes are mostly similar to the other schools (or at least they were 5 years ago.) Except that they had more students doing independent/community-based classes, no large senior humanities lectures, smaller bands, etc.


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

@grye - The student to teacher ratio at Open is on a par with the other schools in the district. I can't speak for Community. They also have special needs students at Open and Community; there is no exclusion from the lottery on that basis.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

As a former student I can attest to this. I was a TA for a math class with 30+ kids, 11 of those kids had learning disabilities. As Danielle says in one of her comments, the idea that the student to teacher ratio is smaller is one of the biggest myths about Community.


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

Community High, and the Ann Arbor Open School at Mack, are gems of the Ann Arbor Public School system. Demand to get into them so far outstrips capacity it is sad. I believe that school administration should seriously look into why these schools are so popular and implement those best practices at other locations, if appropriate. As a parent of two in this system I know for a fact that kids love these alternative schools. I love them, too. It really riles me when people say that Community and Open should be closed to save money. From a perspective of supply and demand, Community and Open should be expanded!!! These schools work, and they are what parents and students want. Let's have more!


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 2:50 a.m.

With the exception of calculus, I believe that Community does not offer any AP classes. Students who want AP classes take them at their home schools, or they take actual college classes.

Wolf's Bane

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

Lotto translates to whom you know.

say it plain

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 5:53 a.m.

I'm &quot;just wondering&quot; what demand for CHS would be like if the kids couldn't take AP classes, the best 'must take' humanities classes at the other schools (try as an 'outsider' to get into one of CHS star teachers 'must take' classes ...impossible!), music, varsity sports, theater etc at the other schools... would there be clambering for the spots? I trust the validity of demand represented by the Ann Arbor Open waiting list far more than that of CHS, because as I understand it at Open the students actually have an 'alternative' experience versus a 'best of' experience... But I totally agree that the AAPS administration has to get past the idea that these schools are untouchable unfathomable 'special places' and start actively figuring out *why* those who love them love them, why those who stay on waiting lists do so, etc. It doesn't help that when the suggestions that the programs be changed in any way start rolling in, their advocates often start defensively claiming there's no way ever ever ever they could ever ever work in any other form and anybody who suggests such a thing is just mean or evil or stupid (I'm not saying you've done this, but it seems to happen often when CHS gets in the news!)...


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 2:36 a.m.

gyre, I don't know about CHS personally, but I can certainly tell you that AAO class sizes are exactly as big as everywhere else. In fact, often bigger. They can pull kids off the wait list to fill openings to keep class sizes maxed out. AAO is in no way immune to Snyder's budget decimations and resulting packed classrooms.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:41 a.m.

Mack school is considered AAPS charter and this is also a lotto system as well as Community. There are two criteria to get in. You cannot be a school choice student and you have to live inside the AAPS school system. We used school choice because Willow Run sucks as a school and so does Ypsilanti. But I think the cream of all the schools is Pioneer. They have some rather nice alternatives.


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

The student to teach ratio is extremely low allowing the students to receive individual attention. That along with the non-standard curriculum that allows for individuality tailors it to students who normally do not do well in a regular school setting. It is a shame that other schools have close to 40 kids in the classroom, some who may be special needs, and the teachers are expected to have all these students excel.


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

So why wasn't Skyline made the &quot;alternative&quot; school?


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 6:42 p.m.

Well, if you participated in the community meetings all those years ago (10 years?), then you would know that the majority of the people who attended those meetings wanted a third, comprehensive high school. I distinctly remember that people DID NOT want a bigger 'alternative' high school (like Community H.S.).


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 12:37 a.m.

because then students couldn't just leave in the middle of the day and walk to Kerrytown for lunch and coffee.


Mon, Jan 9, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

It should have been. Ann Arbor Open and Community should have been put in that building.