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Posted on Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 11:11 a.m.

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

By Kyle Feldscher

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

The majority of Washtenaw County schools were given an "A" grade and met the federal government's Adequate Yearly Progress standard even though fewer schools statewide met those benchmarks in 2010-11, according to statistics released Monday.

In Ann Arbor Public Schools, three of the district's 33 school buildings — Skyline High School, Ann Arbor Technical High School (formerly Stone High School) and Roberto Clemente Student Development Center — failed to meet AYP, a measurement used by the federal government in No Child Left Behind to determine how a school is performing annually on standardized test scores.

All of the schools in the Chelsea School District, Dexter Community Schools, Manchester Community Schools and Whitmore Lake Public Schools met AYP standards for the 2010-11 school year.

State school Superintendent Mike Flanagan said in a statement that fewer schools met AYP standards this year because proficiency targets set by the federal government were increased. He said the number of schools meeting AYP will probably continue to decrease in the coming years as "cut scores,'' meaning the score students need to reach on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program and Michigan Merit Exam to be considered proficient, will rise.

"“We must continue to set high expectations for our schools so our students are prepared for the competitive global economy,” Flanagan said in a statement. “But we need an accurate and honest reflection of where our schools are in preparing our students.”

According to state statistics, 79 percent of Michigan schools and 93 percent of Michigan school districts made AYP in 2010-11, down from 86 percent of schools and 95 percent of districts in 2009-10. The federal government has mandated that 100 percent of schools and districts meet AYP by the 2013-14 school year and Michigan is one of several states that has filed for a waiver from the mandate.

All schools in Michigan received accreditation, according to department documents.

To view school report card data for any school in the state, click here.


A chart of county schools showing state report card grades and AYP status for 2010-11


A chart of county schools showing state report card grades and AYP status for 2010-11

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



Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:15 p.m.

AYP is solely based on MEAP scores and whether 95% of those eligible in each category (race, poverty, disability, English Language Learners, special ed) took the test. The grade is based on 60 or more other indicators -- achievement improvement, teacher quality, attendance, % of parents attending conferences etc. So, a school will "fail" if it fails any subgroup on the MEAP, as in the case of Skyline, even if it's doing very well on other indicators of success. By the same token, schools serving more low income kids may pass AYP but get a lower grade because parents aren't able to get to conferences and those schools pay teachers way less, thereby attracting less well qualified teachers. The two are completely separate. I do not think that failing AYP in one category at all takes away from what the principal is doing at Skyline. I'm more concerned that some schools get consistent Ds, often because they lack resources, and yet we continue to underfund these schools because of politics.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 5:09 a.m.

i thought skyline was supposed to be the crown jewel of the district. What happened? Principal of the year? Of a Failing school? I guess people will rethink their decisions to attend that school.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:31 a.m.

I hope Skyline administration is not going to start forcing her teachers to start teaching for the test and give up their enthusiastic teaching attitude. It will be really sad.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:10 a.m.

Principal of the Year of a FAILING SCHOOL! Go figure!

Tony Livingston

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:07 a.m.

Personally, I am shocked to see Skyline's grade. All of the high schools in Ann Arbor have plenty of students with learning disabilities and Skyline has plenty of experienced teachers. There really is no excuse for this. From what I have heard, Skyline is simply passing learning disable students along with good grades but not necessarily much evidence of learning.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 4:10 a.m.

I really hope they are turning things around with students with learning disabilities. I know too many families who have had to take their kids out of Skyline to another program. Or worse, they were forced out to another AA school because they weren't fitting the model. The problem ultimately I believe is an administration who wants the school to look a particular way. These students with disabilities have it tough enough, and need support, not a push out the door. The other high schools can do it, and I bet with a higher case load too. This is shameful and needs to be addressed.


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

I agree. I have a student at Skyline and am very concerned about the school failing this standard. From a professional standpoint, I know that every college and university rates the quality of education of every public and private high school in the country...and they take this into account when evaluating admission applications. Both Pioneer and Huron have excellent reputations...what does this say about Skyline? I fear my son would have been better off with a diploma from Pioneer like my other children.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:34 a.m.

I think defining whether a school "fails" or not is too early for Skyline. Will you call your toddler who is learning to walk "a failure" when he or she falls on the playground? Or will you give her a walker for her to learn how to walk safely and successfully? As a Skyline parent I am really glad that our daughter chose Skyline even we live in 48104. The energetic and passionate teachers at Skyline have provided a very hands-on environment for those kids to learn. I am not sure about the reason of "Skyline didn't pass AYP because students with disablity failed the standard test....." but for sure Skyline needs more resources and experience in handling some cases. It is that unconventional teaching that makes the learning so much more fun then the standardized teaching method.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:03 a.m.

Kyle, Learn how to write. You wrote, "do to," when the correct phrase is "due to." How about keeping in mind the great things the teachers of these schools are doing to get A's and make "Adequate Yearly Progress." If you can read this, thank a teacher.

Max Peters

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 11:29 a.m.

"If you can read this, thank a teacher" Um, isn't that the problem? Parents should be invested enough to teach their own kids how to read.

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 11:53 p.m.

Skyline did not meet AYP do to students with disabilities not meeting proficiency standards in math and reading for AYP during 2010-11. District spokesperson Liz Margolis told me earlier today that there are strategies the school is taking to address this population, but is pleased with the progress of the other subgroups inside of the school.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:50 p.m.

My sincere apologies, everyone. I noticed this mistake after I sent it, but as you know, comments cannot be edited so it looks like it'll be staying up.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 8:38 a.m.

"due to," not "do to," Kyle. Hope we find AYP in your future.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:40 a.m.

Is there any report that shows the break down of the different student groups' performance? Not that we have to only look at this report to judge these different groups of students but since everyone is makign a big deal on this AYP result.

Monica R-W

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:27 a.m.

This is were the administration, teachers, parents and students must work together to have each of these children IEP's set up with procedures for standardized testing. As a parent of a former public school student with Learning Disabilities during the K-12 years, I'm glad to read the AAPS-Skyline recognize the issues and are working on addressing it.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 10:40 p.m.

If a student has an IEP there are to be accommodations in the classroom for success. Does Skyline have enough support for these students to be successful test takers? How are these students doing academically compared to other learners. ?what does Pioneer and Huron do that Skyline might not be aware of. Any student with an IEP taking state exams can succeed with the right amount of support.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 1:51 a.m.

Totally agree, apples. Now a mature adult is talking.

Monica R-W

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 10:49 p.m.

Apples, so totally agree here. One of my now adult children, who goes to a major University here in Michigan, received a 18 on the ACT on her first attempt. This was a direct result of the support received by Special Education teachers and our result for modification of the IEP for standardized testing. If schools, teacher and parents aren't requesting these accommodations on behalf of ACT, SAT or state tests, they will not receive them. The student, as a resul,t will continue to feel less than capable (when in many cases they aren't) when it comes to taking part in standardized tests. I wonder how many of the students with IEP's at these schools received accommodations on these Federal and State mandated test?

Sports Girl

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 10:36 p.m.

I will admit it was a mistake on my part; I read it too quickly. However, what does bother me is when people want to argue private vs public. If those in favor of private schools, and not saying Dee Dee was, want to say private schools are better then Show me the Test Scores. And, not just ones from college-bound students - all students: at-risk, special ed., etc. But, really, private schools' consumers aren't only parents and the students. After graduation, these students become employees or college students. Therefore, colleges and business owners are directly impacted by your product and should be aware of the quality you are producing.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:10 a.m.

I don't think anyone was implying what you are saying...confused...

Monica R-W

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 10:18 p.m.

Can the reporter explain how did Estabrook and Ypsilanti Middle School received a "B" for a Education YES! grade but a NO in AYP, when the other two schools in the district had a similar grade, different AYP result? Also, why did Forest receive both a "No Grade" and a "No" for AYP? Thanks!

Monica R-W

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 2:05 a.m.

Thanks Kyle!

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 11:54 p.m.

Monica, There's a story coming (which I believed will be published tomorrow) which will explain why these schools did not meet AYP, keep an eye out for it. Thanks!


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

I agree that charter schools should have to report test scores - they are receiving tax payer dollars to educate their students and should be just as accountable as the public schools. But why should private schools have to do this? Parents with kids in private schools are paying taxes to support the public schools, but not deriving a benefit in the form of their child's education. Indeed, these parents are making a direct contribution to the public schools (that money goes to education other people's kids) and then paying another $12-20K a year to educate each of their own. The private schools are held accountable by their customers, the parents, and if they are dissatisfied, or feel that they aren't getting value for their money they can leave. It doesn't seem that the state has a role in that conversation.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 10:25 p.m.

I agree completely that DeeDee is not complaining - simply pointing out the fact that the private schools are responsible to their customers, not the state. And I think the fact that there is some benefit to paying taxes toward public education in addition to paying for a private school tuition is not lost on those who are doing so - a better educated public is better for everybody.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 8:54 p.m.

Unless I have grossly misread DeeDee's comment, I don't think she complaining about "the free education she passed up" and not wanting to live with a choice of private schools. I think she is just saying that private schools shouldn't have to be accountable to the state when they are already held accountable by someone more important---their paying customers.

Sports Girl

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

Going to a private school is a choice, and in this circumstance you have to pay for that choice. Public Education is a federal program. I pay taxes to WCC, but I don't attend and receive the cheaper tuition, but that is my choice. I have money I pay taxes that fixes roads I will never drive on, but I still have to pay. You made a choice that it was best for your child to go to a private school, now rather than complain about the free education you passed up, you need to live with your choice.

Sports Girl

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

In the article regarding charter schools, it states that schools must meet the 95% tested in a handful of categories. One such category, I would be low-economic status. Is there a way to compare schools' tested percentages to get a better insight? If there are certain factors, and we know there are, which usually show students to score lower, what dissuades admin from playing a numbers game? If x number of students are absent on test day, and they are in one of the categories, but I have fulfilled my percentages and they will cause scores to go down, why would I try to get them to test during the retest window? On the other hand, we may also see where some admins are testing almost the entire student population regardless of the outcome and putting out true results. Five percent might not seem like a lot, but if they account for most of the low scores....


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 11:39 p.m.

try looking at these numbers for aa. All schools should have something like this on their web page. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Sports Girl

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 9:32 p.m.

I get that; however, let's take a Jr class at a small school like Manchester. IF say it tests only 95% of its at-risk students in a class (which in no way am I saying they do.), versus another similar-sized district which is testing 99% of its at-risk students, the other school is possibly reporting a lot more of its lower-scoring students and bringing overall scores down. When it may be possible that they outcomes them in the top 60 percent, but the bottom rung was so low, it really skewed the scores. So, I am just saying, as a parent, I would like to know percentages to compare apples to apples. Is Ann arbor testing 98 percent disadvantaged and Saline only 95 percent of its special ed, economically disadvantaged, etc.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 8:45 p.m.

part of ayp is the% of kids taking the test. If kids do not take the test a school is penalized. You must teat a certain % of your building population.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 7:47 p.m.

The testing and standards movement has moved schools toward equity in learning. It has helped districts learn their weaknesses and remedy them by changing their teaching methods and curriculum. I think you would be surprised at how little &quot;drill and kill&quot; is done at the AA schools. They managed to meet the standards and move beyond them in many buildings. There is a great deal of problem solving and creative thinking that goes on in AA classroom. If you study the progress that has been made in reading scores and dug deeper you would find that Ann Arbor has initiated many new practices in classrooms in order to increase those scores over the years. The same can be said of math. I agree that all charter schools should take the tests. The difference in scores would make for and interesting discussion, especially since public schools truly are required to teach all children while charter and private schools can hand pick their students.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 8:57 p.m.

I think there is not enough &quot;drill and kill&quot; at the AA schools. Waiting rooms at Kumon and other tutoring places suddenly popping up are often full.

Elaine F. Owsley

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 7:41 p.m.

Hey! Not just Ann Arbor and Whitmore Lake - Dexter had A's for every school.

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 7:43 p.m.

That's reflected in the story, Elaine.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 7:21 p.m.

&quot;How does Skyline's principal get the Principal of the Year award, when her school failed?&quot; The same way Obama got a noble piece prize, awards are now handed out to make people feel good and have little to do with achievements.

Kristen Mikals

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 4:20 a.m.

I have to disagree. This would've been excusable in Skyline's first year, but they've had plenty of time to get their act together and they've made too many mistakes. It's my belief that Ms. Jackson is FAR too underinvolved with the actual students, and did not deserve that award by any means.

Natalie McDonathugger

Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 4:02 a.m.

people should stop underestimating skyline. All schools need time to grow and become a great learning community. I'm sure Obama would go to Skyline if he could. GO SKYLINE!


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 3:20 a.m.

Totally agree with sh1. And after being a parent at Skyline and involed with the PTSO I finally realized how difficult it is to get a school started and to get it run smoothly considering a Principal has to deal with the daily chaos, the academic requirement, the school board, the parents' demand, the sport funding, the school spirit, school color, logo, etc., etc... not an easy task for normal humanbeing.


Tue, Aug 16, 2011 : 12:50 a.m.

Your oversimplification shows you don't understand what schools have to go through to get AYP. You can have a tiny subgroup fail while all other groups perform astoundingly, and still fail.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 7:14 p.m.

If Skyline failed, then shouldn't Mitchell on the list? How do they determine they failed? How does Skyline's principal get the Principal of the Year award, when her school failed?

Haran Rashes

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 5:49 p.m.

The story could include a bit more information on why the schools that did not make AYP failed to do so. For example, digging a little deeper shows that Skyline only failed to make AYP because of &quot;Students with Disabilities&quot; failing the statewide exams. As to what this really means, I have no idea. The Michigan Department of Education website does a very poor job of explaining it.

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 5:52 p.m.

Haran, I'm in the process of following up with school districts right now about their scores and will have another story posted later in the day with further explanation. Thanks!


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 5:32 p.m.

@ToddAustin I'll agree with you that this national focus on test scores is perverting the educational process. But, any school that receives state/federal funding, e.g. charters, vouchers, etc. needs to be held to the same standards as the public schools. There's too much money to be made by sleazy entrepreneurs who see $10,000 for each child they enroll. All the for-profit colleges that are 90+% funded by student loans are a good example. Recruiters find bodies, not students; and instructors can't fail anyone because these bodies are revenue generators.

Al Waters

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 5:18 p.m.

Kyle, Is there a reason that public school academy scores were not included?

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.

Al, I was crunched for time this morning before a meeting I had to get to that I recently returned from, so I decided to limit it to the ten traditional school districts initially. I'll work on compiling that data now.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 4:23 p.m.

Kind of glad we didn't let our kid go to Skyline even if we had to listen to &quot;But all my friends are going there!&quot; Sort of like buying a first model year car, let them get the bugs shaken out....


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 4:22 p.m.

Cinnabar, your comment points up the real advantage of independent schools. Children who attend them are not required to take the standardized tests. Independents can, therefore, spend their time on actual teaching rather than on drilling children in the mindless repetition of factoids that will be on some standardized test. Count me among those who feel that standardized testing is destroying our public schools. It may be useful for the re-election of some chest-thumping politician, but it does nothing to help our children learn to think.


Mon, Aug 15, 2011 : 3:35 p.m.

It would be nice if they had private schools added in to see how they are really doing.