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Posted on Tue, May 7, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

New ranking dubs Saline top high school in Washtenaw County

By Kellie Woodhouse

Newsweek and The Daily Beast ranked Saline High School as the fourth-best in Michigan.

The publications published their 2013 America's Best High School rankings Monday, listing the top 2,000 schools in the country. Four are in Ann Arbor, one is in Saline and one is in Chelsea. Eighty-seven are in Michigan.

Here's where the local schools fall in the U.S. rankings, with their Michigan rankings in parenthesis:

  • 298th: Saline High School (4)
  • 633st: Community High School (25)
  • 637th: Chelsea High School (26)
  • 891st: Huron High School (38)
  • 955th: Pioneer High School (40)
  • 1019th: Skyline High School (44)

Saline High School's Class of 2010 marches down to the football field at the beginning of the commencement ceremony two years ago at Saline's Hornet Stadium.

Melanie Maxwell |

The schools are ranked in part on graduation rates and the percentage of the student body that is college bound. Schools are also judged by average SAT and ACT test scores and the number of AP, IB and AICE tests taken per student and the average scores. [Read more about methodology.]

Saline High School ranked highest in Washtenaw County, followed by Community High School in Ann Arbor.

The top high school in Michigan is International Academy, a magnet school in Bloomfield Hills. At that school, 100 percent of students graduate and all are accepted to college.

At Saline High School, according to the ranking, 99 percent of students graduate and 93 percent go to college. The average ACT score is 25.

At Community High School 97 percent of students graduate and 96 percent of those students are accepted to college. The average ACT score is 26.2.

Chelsea High School boasts a 97 percent graduation rate and 90 percent of those students are accepted to college. The average ACT score is 23.

Huron High School has an 89 percent graduation rate, with 91 percent going to college and a 23.5 average ACT score.

Pioneer High School has a 95 percent graduation rate, with 80 percent going to college and a 24.7 average ACT score.

Skyline has a 94 percent graduation rate, with 86 percent going to college and an average ACT score of 22.8.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


Ricardo Queso

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 4:10 p.m.

I think we know where to look for a new superintendent and for a new Skyline principal.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:25 a.m.

Thank you again Saline teachers and staff for taking a pay cut last year. It let the school balance the budget and focus on the kids. This would not have happen without you.

Charley Sullivan

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:40 a.m.

633th? 891th?? Please tell me your writers have at least a high school education . . . if not, we have some good ones in town.

Kellie Woodhouse

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 4:34 a.m.

Indeed. You are right.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 11:04 p.m.

Let's stand around and applaud mediocrity within the cohort of top 2000 schools. Is there no commitment to excellence anymore? How many graduates do these schools place in MMA events? Seems to be the criteria the school board promotes by trying to keep as many criminal as possible out of jail.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 9:09 p.m.

I checked the gap between the Disadvantaged Students Who Are Proficient & the Non-Disadvantaged Students Who Are Proficient in Dexter High School. The gap in Dexter is about half the gap as in the state. This tells me that Dexter reaches out to those less able students as well as to the more able. Good for Dexter.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:17 a.m.

Dexter 's boss! Mill Creek is outstanding!


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 7:54 p.m.

I thin k Commie would have edged out Saline if they accounted for acceptance rate, as four times as many people want to go to Commie as there are spots.

say it plain

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:48 p.m.

I would *love* to see what the rates of applying would be like if students at Community had to stay in their building. I'd guess they'd drop by half.

Zach Sawyer

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 7:54 p.m.

Kellie Woodhouse is cute


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

Out of the top 2000 schools in the US, Huron, Pioneer and Skyline are about in the middle of the pack, Chelsea and Community fall in about the top 1/3, and Saline falls in the top 1/6 of the top 2000 schools. Those are better comparisons. Michigan has a wide range of schools across the state, from excellent to very poor. It's better to look at how Wash Cty stacks up nationally against the top 2000 schools in the country, rather than how it is ranked within the state.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

Congratulations to Saline High School


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 5:16 p.m.

Why? According to the GOP ALL public schools are failures and we should invest in charter schools

Sandy Castle

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 8:01 p.m.

Right on!


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

Here's a question the survey should ask: Do you give two wits about your kids education? I may be wrong but I bet that the higher the percentage of people who say "yes," the higher the graduation rates would be.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

We are lucky to have so many great schools in our immediate area. Nit picking between them seems silly.

Sandy Castle

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 8:02 p.m.

I'm in the Ypsilanti School district and am very grateful for the wealth of great educational offerings in Washtenaw County. Congratulations to Saline!


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 7 p.m.

No Kidding. We are spoiled to no end here in the Ann Arbor area.

Macks Pizza

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 4:55 p.m.

The number of students actually going to college is very misleading. Anyone can write down on a form that I am going to Slippery Rock and that is considered as going to college. But actually attending in the fall, who really knows? Very misleading.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 4:09 p.m.

Why should a high school get downrated because not all its graduates go on to college? College is not for everyone - there a many students that will have happy prosperous and successful lives doing work that does not require a college education. If the high school has prepared them well to succeed in such a life, then it is doing the job it is supposed to do.

Tim Hornton

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 3 p.m.

I thought dexter all that! Guess I'm wrong!


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

WOW what a bunch of whiners from Ann Arbor. We didn't need a poll to know that Saline schools are the best in the area.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

The new Washtenaw International High which is a public high school and modeled after International Academy will soon be among the best in the state. In two years it will have a senior class which will be on the leader board.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:36 p.m.

Lets do a ranking based on a different criteria. How many of the high school grads that go on to college work at McDonald's?

John of Saline

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 6:52 p.m.

Hey, they have Hamburger University and everything.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 5:30 p.m.

Fair enough!


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 2:17 p.m.

Let's be equitable here: Don't forget that some go to work at Wendy's and Taco Bell.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

Let's play "One of these schools is not like the other": Saline Total Minority Enrollment (% of total) 9%  American Indian/Alaskan Native Enrollment (% of total) 0%  Asian Enrollment (% of total) 4%  Black Enrollment (% of total) 2%  Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander (% of total) 0.2%  Hispanic Enrollment (% of total) 2%  White Enrollment (% of total) 91%  Two or More Races Enrollment (% of total) 0.4%  Gender Male (% of total) 51%  Female (% of total) 49%  Economically Disadvantaged Students Free Lunch Program (% of total) 6%  Reduced-Price Lunch Program (% of total) 1%  Total Economically Disadvantaged (% of total) 8%  Huron Ethnicity/Race Total Minority Enrollment (% of total) 49% American Indian/Alaskan Native Enrollment (% of total) 0% Asian Enrollment (% of total) 18% Black Enrollment (% of total) 18% Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander (% of total) 0% Hispanic Enrollment (% of total) 6% White Enrollment (% of total) 51% Two or More Races Enrollment (% of total) 6% Economically Disadvantaged Students Free Lunch Program (% of total) 19% Reduced-Price Lunch Program (% of total) 4% Total Economically Disadvantaged (% of total) 23% Community Ethnicity/Race Total Minority Enrollment (% of total) 22%  American Indian/Alaskan Native Enrollment (% of total) 0.2%  Asian Enrollment (% of total) 5%  Black Enrollment (% of total) 6%  Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander (% of total) 0%  Hispanic Enrollment (% of total) 4%  White Enrollment (% of total) 78%  Two or More Races Enrollment (% of total) 7%  Economically Disadvantaged Students Free Lunch Program (% of total) 8%  Reduced-Price Lunch Program (% of total) 1%  Total Economically Disadvantaged (% of total) 10.00%


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 3:31 p.m.

As Simple Sally points out: Individual effort counts, not "diversity" If parents do not care about there "own" kids how is "diversity" going to make a different?


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:59 a.m.

@Thoughtful, you are likely correct about the attendance scams going on at Skyline and Pioneer. I know about Huron since my kids went there. These attendance scams are draining the limited resources of our schools with already overcrowded classrooms, not to mention the AA taxpayers who are paying very high property taxes and millages to support the schools. If AAPS cared, they would put effort into verifying these attendance scammers. But they like the state dollars based on headcount.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:53 a.m.

JRW, sorry to say, but faking addresses happens at Skyline and Pioneer as well. I think they have to get caught by an athletic director, if that ever happens. No one cares enough to look. Out of county students fake addresses to get into Skyline, and kids suddenly "move" to get into Pioneer.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 7:21 p.m.

Huron needs to get a grip on the attendance boundaries. Many students are sneaking into the district and supposedly living with "relatives" just inside the boundary lines of Huron HS. No one is verifying that these students actually live with these supposed cousins and uncles. No one verifies that they are actually relatives of the students. These students fail in other districts, flock to Huron, scam the attendance system and AAPS gets the state dollars for the headcount. However, these students are not taking the AP classes.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 6:35 p.m.

By the way, bubba and tano, if you have an issue with the achievement gap maybe you can take it up with the school board. They seem to think there is one even if you don't. I guess they needed to take your class as well. Please let us all know the next time you teach it.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 6:32 p.m.

@bubba; I didn't draw any conclusions. You did. You drew a conclusion bases of raw data that I posted. You would fail my imaginary logic class as fast as I would fail your imaginary statics class. (Ain't the internet grand, "teacher"? You can be whoever you want to be.)


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

heartattack You really need to sit in on a statistics class if you are gonna post data and then try to make sense of it to the public. The word that is most important here is sample size. A sample size of 3 is about as useful in drawing conclusions as 2 left feet are to walking. Trying to compare three schools based on reduced lunch or minority enrollment is pointless. If you are gonna make these comparisons, take 30 minutes and look at all of the schools on that list from Michigan and compare them. I know your conclusions will change because there are diverse schools on that list (like East Lansing) that ruin your assumed model. Just sayin... a student in my class who used your model would have failed due to sample size, its that important


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

Eyeheart, I like data just fine. I don't like people who distort data. I did look at the data for Pioneer and Skyline and they are as I alluded to in my comment. Now that you know that, please tell us what trends you see in all of the data. How has your view of the world changed now that you realize that schools with more poor and minority students sometimes do better than schools with fewer?


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

@cfsunlet; I would love to answer you, and tried, but the censors deleted my post even though it was quite reasonable. Sorry. You will need to draw your own conclusions and have to think for yourself on this one I guess.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 5:18 p.m.

@Tano; I didn't bother to look at any other schools, you go ahead and knock yourself out if you like. I picked the three I picked since they were the top three schools in Ann Arbor and were part of the discussion above. If you don' t like it, post your own data, I showed you where it came from BTW, I can't claim I did anything for any reason, since the censors at AA.commie saw fit to delete my response. Sorry you don't like data.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

@Eyeheart You claim to be simply reporting raw data, and question the motives of those who challange you. But in fact you are presenting a distorted view of the raw data by selectively editing the data. Why no data for Skyline? Could it be because Skyline has a lower minority population, a lower percentage of economically disadvantaged kids, and yet a lower ranking as well? In other words, it does not fit with the trend that you are trying to artificially impose on the data. Where is the data for Pioneer? Did you exclude it because Pioneer also has a lower minority population and fewer economically disadvantaged kids than say, Huron, but does worse in the ratings? If you presented all the data honestly, what trends would emerge, if any?

A Voice of Reason

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

It is a free and reduced lunch issue not race. Ann Arbor has high number of free and reduced lunch kids that are African American, so it looks like a race issue. Look at Community, only 10% free and reduced lunch while Huron is 23%. Look at other districts with high free and reduced lunch kids and their numbers will not be great.

Silly Sally

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

Why does being "diverse" make an area more perfect? With that thought process, you could move more Detroit residents into Saline and improve it! No! You need to stop looking at a groups race and begin looking at individuals and a cultures. There are mostly Asian schools that would not be better academically if they were more "diverse". There is a reason why some major universities are now mostly Asian and not mostly of another group.Individual effort counts, not "diversity"


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

so what is your point? Saline is a public school, anyone can move to Saline and those who do so will get the same advantages. In fact, the cost of housing is lower than in Ann Arbor and most other costs are the same, so family income shouldn't be an issue. Saline is a great bargain if you look at the value of the education received compared to the cost of living. This isn't a race issue...Saline schools set high standards and they know what it takes to get students to meet those standards. They have strong extracurricular offerings which encourages most students to participate in non-academic opportunities and creates a stronger sense of community throughout. Parents care about their children's success and have strong educationally-centered values. People move to Saline because they are drawn to the community, regardless of political leanings, racial identity or income level. Saline isn't perfect, it could be more diverse, but if people move to Saline, they will receive the same benefits as those who already live here.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

I think you are going to get deleted for pointing this out. Politically incorrect!!!


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

Too bad none of the schools teach common sense.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 10:23 p.m.

Nor do they teach them kids to 'stay offa my lawn!'


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

That is where it HAS to start for sure. But that is not the end.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

you think it's the schools job to teach common sense? How about starting with the parents?

Basic Bob

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

how does this correlate to family income and parents' educational level? maybe they should just rank by these instead.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 6:48 p.m.

Comments here are spot on. I graduated from Saline 25 years ago and that's how it was then. I think back then there were only a handful of minority students in the entire high school. I know by now it is many more than that. But still, minority or not, the majority of students are of a pretty solid family structure and are very economically stable. Very skewed survey indeed...


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 3:51 p.m.

My thought exactly. I have no idea if this is true, but my perception of Saline is that of a very homogeneous, upper-middle class suburb, in which case the graduation and college rates should not be surprising. Maybe I'm wrong, but I suspect that schools like Saline and Community have kids with much greater resources on average than those who attend elsewhere.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

"and the number of AP, IB and AICE tests taken per student and the average scores." Lol....and last I checked Commie doesn't even do this silly stuff...


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:18 p.m.

I was disappointed that no context was set for this article. First a little on the methodology, (just a little digging required) only 5,000 Public High Schools were asked to complete the survey (no mention of how these 5000 schools were selected), of which 2500 responded (we do not know what percent of these were complete responses). A few more facts, there are over 26,000 Public High-schools in the U.S. and 10,000 prviate High-Schools (quick Google # of HS in US). What does this mean? If you assume that there was a random selection process for the 5,0000 school selected to survey and those that responded where representative of that population then roughly Saline is at the 90th percentile or a top ~3600, CHS is at the 75th percentile or a ~top 9000 school (this of course assumes that privates and publices are equivalent quality on average, which is highly debatable). Not bad, but certianly not what the article implies.

music to my ear

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

having been an employee of the saline schools , and watching the daily effort of all employee I can tell you firsthand that YES ,it does take a village from the bottom to the top as with alot of schools the people help make a difference


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 11:33 a.m.

This ranking is ridiculous.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 11:27 a.m.

Community does this with no AP classes

say it plain

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:45 p.m.

Exactly @Freighttrain. Community kids should be required to *stay in their building*. Their arguments for continuing to exist aren't valid, really, because so many of their students get a good portion of their educations at the bigger schools. Then, when they show us how wonderfully their students do on the *traditional* measures of school goodness, it's really not about their "special sauce". Unless you count getting to do whatever you want and being far more supported while doing it than the kids in the other schools "special sauce". We'd get a better education for everyone in AAPS if Community students were required to stay in their buildings, because those families who really need/want what Community does (as opposed to what is available anywhere in AAPS) would be better served, and those who want their kids to take APs and varsity sports would be forced to come to terms with what's less than desirable about the other schools and use their oddly feared loud voices to advocate for change in those places, where the majority of kids in AAPS end up!

Freight Train

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 5:21 p.m.

Many community students take APs at Huron, Pioneer or Skyline. The work of these schools gets credited to Community.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

If you understood statistics.....the demographics are identical. If anything it STILL makes community a better school because those students still CHOSE to attend there because they had to CHOOSE to be in the lottery.

Ivor Ivorsen

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

Community HS: lottery. Saline HS: no lottery; all children in community attend.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 11:17 a.m.

Schools are ranked based on the number of students who sign up and pay for AP and IB tests - what a racket. The most competitive colleges in the country are moving away from these proprietary tests, which are a scam and a cash cow for ETS and their like. Imagine basing an entire course - a school even! - on a test that someone is cashing in on and which the best colleges don't really respect. Hogwash. How about a real measurement of quality, like the number of students who wrote and performed poems in front of the student body? Or the number of students who exhibited artwork to their community? Or the tons of invasive plants removed by a school group to better their park system? Or the amount of money a school raised to help the needy and hungry?

Tim Hornton

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:06 a.m.

"Performing poems in front of the student body" good grief!

Chester Drawers

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 10:05 p.m.

ms24, You can find the AP scores on the School Profiles for Pioneer and Huron. Not sure if Skyline has a profile.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 6:41 p.m.

Let's see the scores on the AP tests taken. Anybody know where that data would be? I would bet that the Ann Arbor kids who do take the APs have consistently scored higher especially from Huron and Pioneer. Any student can sign up for the classes. Any student can sit for the exam. Community kids can go to another school to take an AP class there. Even if you can't afford to pay the entrance amount I think there is a fee waiver application. Also, if you adjust the data to reflect the same diversity distributions that Saline has, you would see higher ACT scores for all the Ann Arbor schools.

say it plain

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

Ooh, lol, I'd *love* for you to share your evidence about how "most competitive colleges are moving away from APs"...sure, as @AMOC points out, they aren't awarding credit for it, but that's revenue and quality control, not about how they tend to judge applicants. The whole 'rankings' scene is a scam, but Community plays that game just like the other schools, and it's only a problem for the advocates when they don't look so great lol... Pick a perspective, it's a better 'look': either be truly alternative and care not about ACT scores and "competitive" college admissions, but individuals and their education, or care about numbers, which tends to be the game there these days it seems.

Ricardo Queso

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

I hope I read a fair amount of sarcasm in your last paragraph. If not, your strategy will produce few engineers, scientists, and physicians and a large number of community organizers.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

Floyd - IB doesn't award credit by examination, only by completing an accredited program and submitting a portfolio of work to independent reviewers. The program is very respected by colleges and universities world-wide. It's the closest thing in US public schools to "meets international educational standards" for college-prep programs, but it is very heavy in the liberal arts. As for AP - there are and have been public schools that call their course offerings "advanced" or AP or "honors" without actually providing the coverage or rigor colleges expect, and without encouraging or requiring students to take the standardized tests. Colleges are rightly suspicious, in particular of granting credit for these courses without seeing the highest scores on a ninon-grade-inflated measure of what the student knows. And the colleges also want to protect their revenue streams, rather than allow students to get their degree faster and cheaper.

Jim Osborn

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 11 a.m.

"89 percent graduation rate, with 91 percent going to college " How can this be? Do a lot of drop-outs make use of GEDs? Why the big differences amongst the 3 main Ann Arbor high schools? Where do Dexter, Ypsi, and Whitmore Lake rank?


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

I cant be 100% sure as I only can read the information provided but as a statistics teacher I interpret this as 89% of students graduate high school and of those students graduating, 91% go to college. So 9% of those students who graduate decide to pursue their careers instead of going to college. I hope this helps!

Silly Sally

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

This means that each kid who leaves and goes on to college early will hurt the graduation stats of each high school. They look like losers on paper when in truth they are the opposite. They should not count against the school.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

"I personally know three kids who accepted invitations to enroll in college early and just kept going." I was taking college classes my junior year because I could. Because of such, I had enough credits to graduate after only one semester my senior year.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 11:35 a.m.

Jim- You asked "89 percent graduation rate, with 91 percent going to college " How can this be? Do a lot of drop-outs make use of GEDs? Nope. It's the other way around. A few students are sufficiently advanced that they start their career or college degrees before having fulfilled all the graduation requirements, and never really see the point of going back for that half-credit in gym, or health, or even US History. The rules surrounding GEDs say that young people can't take the exam until their normal age high school cohort would have graduated. I believe this state policy was introduced primarily to protect the public schools from losing the money and prestige these highly capable students bring them. I personally know three kids who accepted invitations to enroll in college early and just kept going.

Paula Gardner

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 11:33 a.m.

Yes, those schools were not on the list. And it's 91 percent of the graduates going on to college. I find the differences interesting, too.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 11:07 a.m.

Best guess - not in the top 2000 ranked in this study.

Basic Bob

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 10:32 a.m.

Different poll, different results. Community folks can tell us how their school is actually better, regardless of what the poll says.

Angry Moderate

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

Actually it's pretty impressive that they placed in the rankings when their school doesn't offer AP or IB courses.

Ivor Ivorsen

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 10:13 a.m.

Another "broken" public school.