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Posted on Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

8 of 9 charter schools in Washtenaw County meet Adequate Yearly Progress standards

By Kyle Feldscher

Related story: Most Washtenaw County schools meet Adequate Yearly Progress; see if your school is one of them

Eight out of nine Washtenaw County charter schools met Adequate Yearly Progress standards with Eastern Washtenaw Multicultural Academy the only school to miss out, according to state statistics released Monday.

The scores were a part of the annual state report card released by the Michigan Department of Education.

Eastern Washtenaw Multicultural Academy did not meet AYP standards due to not testing 95 percent of the school's economically disadvantaged students in reading, according to state information. Schools must test 95 percent of students in a number of different, federally mandated categories in order to meet AYP.

Adequate Yearly Progress is a measurement used by the federal government through No Child Left Behind to determine how a school is performing on an annual basis.

Ann Arbor Learning Community, South Arbor Charter Academy, Fortis Academy, Honey Creek Community School and Washtenaw Technical Middle College were the five charter schools that received an "A" grade from the state, in addition to meeting AYP standards.


A chart showing how Washtenaw County charter schools performed on the state report card

Kyle Feldscher covers K-12 education for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Wed, Aug 17, 2011 : 4 a.m.

Tammy, Are you saying that the NHA schools accept ALL kids, regardless of special needs, behavioral issues, etc...and that they KEEP those kids for the WHOLE year? They don't expel or suggest that a difficult child would be better served in a public school? You are saying that after count day, no kids get shuffled back to the public school?


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 3:52 a.m.

YES, NHA does accept ALL kids, regardless of special needs, behavioral issues, etc...and they KEEP those kids for the WHOLE year. The sad fact is that there are just as many disruptive kids in our kids' classes (special needs kids, too, but they are not the ones causing problems).


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 9:03 p.m.

There seems to be some "urban myths" about charter schools "cherry picking" in Ann Arbor/Washtenaw. Honey Creek Community School uses a lottery system the same as Ann Arbor Open an AAPS school. The charter schools in Ann Arbor succeed due to many factors, and perhaps the most important is they focus on the "whole" child not just test scores.

Tammy Mayrend

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.

The National Heritage Academy schools mentioned here do NOT cherry pick students. Every childs name goes into a random drawing for a chance to go to school there. Children with challenges have the same opportunity for admission.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 10:40 a.m.

Kyle, while you added a fifth school to the list, the sentence still says "were the four charter schools..."


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:16 a.m.

I am happy to hear that these schools are doing well. However, I think it's important to note that most charter schools do not provide transportation to their students. Therefore, parents have to be involved enough to either drive or arrange rides for their children. This alone puts charter schools at an advantage because the students at those schools are coming from homes with involved parents. (For the most part, anyway.) Many public schools do not have this level of parent involvement. Considering that parental involvement has such a HUGE impact on student achievement, I would just like to mention that major difference between charter schools and many public schools. I just wish that our schools were not forced to compete in such a way. Test scores are not the only way to measure a school's worth.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

A charter public school in Michigan has to be granted a charter to exist by an institution of higher learning in the State and the number of such charters is capped. All State taxpayer funds used to operate a charter public school are sent to the school through its chartering institution which is responsible for monitoring the operation of the charter school. A public charter school is not allowed to charge tuition and the amount it receives per student per year is significantly less than what the State provides for a student in a traditional public school. In addition, the public charter school has to pay for the school facility it uses (rent or mortgage payment) from the amount per student it receives from the State. The traditional public schools, however, have facilities provided through public bond issues which does not impact the amount per student they get from the State to operate. Every public charter school in the State is required by law to accept any child (regardless of what school district the child lives in) on the same basis as any traditional public school when it comes to issues of disabilities. South Arbor Charter Academy (K thru 8) has about 750 students from a number of school districts including Ann Arbor, Lincoln, Milan, Saline, Willow Run, Ypsilanti, etc. SA has a waiting list of over 500 and has a number of "special needs" children enrolled. I am Ed Fadden the Board President of South Arbor Charter Academy.

L. C. Burgundy

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:58 a.m.

I am glad that motivated children of all sorts of backgrounds get the opportunity to be educated in an appropriate environment with like-minded individuals beyond those who can afford private school.

Patti Smith

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:28 a.m.

I also think we need to remember that many charters--I don't know about these specifically though--cherry pick students to "weed out" discipline problems, special needs and so on. The mantra is usually "this is not an appropriate fit" and then the kid comes back to true, not for profit, public schools. (Often a day or so after Count Day...hmmmm!!) Again, I don't know about these charters specifically...I am speaking of the ones I am familiar with in Wayne and other counties. I just think that this information needed to be put out there lest we think that charters are all bright and shiny.

Monica R-W

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 10:27 p.m.

I believe Washtenaw Technical Middle College is a "closed" type school that only accepts students after reviewing their grades/test scores at previous schools. This screens out children with Learning Disabilities who might not perform well on standardized tests. Are the other schools that are cited here, have similar admissions standards? Could this reporter follow up with each of these schools on the list to inquire about their direct admission standards for children with Learning Disabilities, that non-charter public schools are required to take? Thanks!


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 10:44 p.m.

WTMC has been open for since the late 90's. It accepts teens based on a lottery system, if they have filled out the paperwork, regardless of grades. However, if the teen is not able to transition to college classes, they are not able to continue at WTMC. There is certainly opportunity for IEP and other support services.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

AALC has special education services and an inclusive atmosphere for my son, who is on the autism spectrum. They are public schools, and the children in them are entitled to the same IEP services as other students in WISD.

Monica R-W

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:21 a.m.

Correction, my reply should have stated, "A student with ADD and a teacher improperly trained to deal with these students might..." Thanks!

Monica R-W

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:19 a.m.

J.A. Pieper, glad to hear the WTMC has changed their standards since first opening four years ago. But to lump all students with Learning Disabilities as "behavior problems" is a falsehood that must be combated. A student could ADD and a teacher improperly trained how to deal with ADD students, might view them as having a "behavior problem", when their actions are a direct cause of their disability. That same student could be excelling academically in certain subjects. This is no different from students with autism or dyslexia, who might appear withdrawn or unfocused, when their disability is not addressed properly in the classroom. Let's hope that WTMC will continue to give these students a chance (as you state) to attend the Middle College.

J. A. Pieper

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:03 a.m.

WTMC does accept students with learning issues, they have an extensive support system. The students they do not accept are the behavior problems who are struggling academically.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

"Ann Arbor Learning Community, Fortis Academy, Honey Creek Community School and Washtenaw Technical Middle College were the four charter schools that received an "A" grade from the state, in addition to meeting AYP standards." So who can't count? Looks like South Arbor ALSO received an "A" and passed the AYP standard. (Must have been the public education of the reporter?)

Sports Girl

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 8:21 p.m.

FYI...Charter schools are also "public schools." And, we would never know how many private school students can count; they do not take tests nor do they ever publish any results.

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 8:17 p.m.

YpsiGreen- South Arbor did in fact receive an A. I've added them into the story. Thanks for calling the error to my attention.