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Posted on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 11:22 a.m.

Ann Arbor schools honored with 'Sunny Award' for website transparency

By Danielle Arndt

Ann Arbor Public Schools recently was recognized by a national nonprofit for maintaining one of the most open and transparent public websites in America.

The district received a 2012 Sunny Award, presented by editors of the Sunshine Review during “Sunshine Week,” March 11-17. Board of Education President Deb Mexicotte made the announcement at Wednesday’s meeting.

Ann Arbor was one of just 214 public or government entities to obtain the honor this year, after 6,000 websites were analyzed.

“This is really just an unexpected treat because we know that we work very hard for transparency in the district. So to be recognized without solicitation from a group that is all about holding state and local government agencies accountable, is really quite a treat,” Mexicotte said.

AAPS was given a grade of an A- by the Sunshine Review. Detroit Public Schools also received a Sunny Award and an A-. Detroit and Ann Arbor were the only school district websites from Michigan to be recognized.

The Sunshine Review honored three government entities in Michigan. They were the cities of Kalamazoo, Lansing and Portage. Portage was the only city to receive an A+.

According to its website, six states earned nearly half of the 214 Sunny Awards. The leading states were Florida (28), Texas (21), Illinois (19), Virginia (14), Ohio (10) and Pennsylvania (10).

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


Jack Panitch

Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

Kitty: Did you try looking on the home page of the AAPS website? Top, dead center. There's some additional humor here. If you open up the home page on an iPhone, the state mandated transparency icon almost obscures Dr. Green's name. This doesn't happen on a larger screen, though.


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 5:10 p.m.

"Transparent"?! This administration and Board are anything but! Try to find the Superintendant's name on the web site. Try to contact or talk to her in any way. Try to get an actual answer to any problem out of the Balas Bldg. Try to find a community forum set up for any planning issue. I think you'll find "transparent" is not quite the right word.

Jack Panitch

Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 3:20 a.m. Follow this link. It's the Mackinac Center holding forth the Sunshine Review as an authority on transparency. I don't know who the Sunshine Review is or what their political or ideological views might be, and I'm not sure I care. A conservative think-tank has put its imprimatur on the group's work, and that's all the support I need for this argument. I notice a dearth of comments on a subject of critical importance to everyone who blogs on education issues, and I ask myself, where are the usual suspects? Come out, please, DonBee, SbBuilder, Grumpy, aataxpayer, A Voice of Reason, Snapshot etc. Thoughts?

J. A. Pieper

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 1:08 a.m.

So let's think about this for a minute, AAPS is equal with DPS in this area? Are you kidding? And what are you reading?


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

This is a big deal. Should be on the front page. So many people complain about the lack of transparency in the AAPS!


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 5:15 p.m.

Wish we spent our money in the classroom and not on websites and aaps news emails. How does this help our children's education?