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Posted on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

Report: Willow Run has greatest percent of 'highly effective' staff in Washtenaw County; all Ann Arbor teachers rated 'effective'

By Danielle Arndt

Data released by the Center for Educational Performance and Information shows that about 97 percent of the state’s 96,000 educators were deemed “effective” or “highly effective” in their evaluations last year.

Locally, the report shows Washtenaw County followed the trend, with most teachers being rated effective.

Willow Run schools had the greatest percentage of teachers over that middle mark, with about 28 percent of its evaluated staff receiving highly effective ratings.


A student in the Willow Run school district raises his hand to answer a question. A new state data profile shows a greater percentage of teachers in Willow Run were rated "highly effective" on their most recent evaluation than any other district in the county.

The Ann Arbor News file photo

The state data report tallied the results of the most recent evaluations for all administrators and teachers in Michigan’s public schools. The evaluation data was collected from the traditional districts and charter schools at the close of the 2011-12 academic year, according to

Statewide, 74.6 percent of evaluated staff were rated effective by administrators in their districts; 22.6 percent had highly effective ratings, 2 percent were minimally effective and 1 percent were ineffective.

One hundred percent of the educators at all of Ann Arbor’s school buildings were awarded an effective rating, according to the report. Ann Arbor was the only school district to give its teachers, across the board, the same rating. The other districts in Washtenaw County had at least a few teachers who finished higher or lower on the scale.

Not a single teacher in the Ann Arbor Public Schools was given a rating of anything but effective. Of the 12 central office staff that were rated, one was deemed minimally effective.

Saline schools’ teacher and administrator evaluations revealed almost the same trend as Ann Arbor’s. All of Saline’s educators at all of its buildings were given effective ratings, except one at Woodland Meadows Elementary School. This educator was deemed ineffective.

Ypsilanti Public Schools had the greatest number of teachers and administrators in the county (seven of 229, or about 3 percent) receive ineffective ratings. Seven others were found to be minimally effective.

On a high note, Ypsilanti also had a significant number of educators receive highly effective scores: 46, or about 20 percent.

Willow Run Community Schools had the greatest percent of teachers and administrators in the county receive highly effective ratings: 28 percent, or 31 people out of the 111 evaluated.

Willow Run had one minimally effective teacher at the Elementary Learning Center and one ineffective teacher at the Intermediate Learning Center.

In Chelsea, 91.18 percent of teachers at the high school were rated effective, while 8.82 percent received a higher rating. One high school teacher was minimally effective. Combined at the two elementary schools, 28.82 percent of teachers were highly effective.

At Dexter, 51 people, or 22 percent of all evaluated staff, were given a highly effective rating. The rest were effective.

One Lincoln High School teacher was found to be ineffective, while two teachers at Lincoln Middle School were minimally effective. One hundred percent of Lincoln’s elementary school teachers received effective ratings.

At Manchester Community Schools, the bulk of teachers and administrators received effective ratings, while a select few were scored highly effective.

The bulk of Milan’s school staff also was considered effective. However, a select few (five of the 139 evaluated) were found to be minimally effective.

Of the 68 personnel reviewed in Whitmore Lake, two were found to be ineffective, one was minimally effective, 61 were effective and four were highly effective.

  • Download the Michigan School Data Educator Effectiveness Ratings Report here.
  • Or, search for the results from your child’s school using this Detroit Free Press database.

The CEPI data was released the same day as an Education Trust-Midwest report analyzing the teacher-evaluation mechanisms of 28 districts and charter schools. Those schools included Kalamazoo, Rockford and Dearborn public schools and the charter schools operated by National Heritage Academies.

Overall, the report says districts are improving their teacher evaluation systems, but they are struggling with issues of fairness and consistency.

Ed Trust Midwest is a think tank based in Royal Oak that advocates for high academic standards in public education, according to an MLive article.

The article highlights the following points from the report:

"Despite their best efforts, many school districts and charter schools don't have the resources or expertise needed to reliably evaluate teachers and give them the support and feedback they need to grow," the report says.

"Some state action is essential to protect everyone's best interests ... for students, teachers and administrators," says the report, which includes a list of recommendations on what actions are needed.

The study's conclusion: "By adopting state standards of evaluation, Michigan will help ensure that all models used in the state are reliable, technically-sound, and focused on improving teaching and learning."

In 2011, the state created the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness to help build a framework for a statewide teacher evaluation model, including a student-growth element that would factor in student test scores into teachers’ evaluations.

  • Read the full article here.

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



Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

One other thing, might there be a bit of protectionism on the part of Willow Run? A highly effective ranking for their teachers puts them in a better position to keep their jobs should the new consolidated district end up not needing as many districts.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

should read "not needing as many teachers."


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 4:13 p.m.

So 97% of teachers are "effective" or "highly efective". This reminds me of a kids soccer league where, win or lose, everyone gets a trophy.

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

"One hundred percent of the educators at all of Ann Arbor's school buildings were awarded an effective rating" In other words, "We're not playing your little game."


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 1 p.m.

I think these ratings make the point that many of us have been trying to make for quite some time. Terrible graduation rates and poor academic performance actually begins and ends at home. The single greatest impact on a student's academic success is the academic history and accomplishment of their primary caretaker, usually their mother, and the secondary caretaker. We have, for quite some time, held our public schools responsible for things they cannot control and I hope this more unified measurement and evaluation of teachers makes this point more clearly.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 12:40 p.m.

This is so laughable.... ridiculous... inaccurate. The worst school in the state has the best teachers? Really? The ratings were rigged or the system has basis in fact.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

Since eval's are done by the admin and has nothing to do with the end result of a student actually learning I think that it is conceivable that the Willow Run Admin could have very likely given higher scores acrossed the board to attempt to make the district look better/more appealing, possibly for school of choice students. Or possibly to garner more state money etc? Discuss, lol


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 11:39 a.m.

Hello AAPS Board! Hello. This is BS. Many teachers at one high school were evaluated on the same day.... And that day was review for an exam, not a "teaching day".


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

they were evaluated that day, or received their evaluations that day? In today's test-happy education, preparing for tests is a big part of teaching.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 7:16 a.m.

Does anyone see MEA intruding on the testing? Just saying . . .

Roger Kuhlman

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

Maybe we do need someone to do some good investigative reporting on whether MEA intrudes on testing. Most reporting on schools seems to get information from teachers' unions and Boards of Education running school systems. These folks would always be telling us the truth, right?


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 4:11 p.m.

No I don't. Please enlighten us to the knowledge you seem to possess. Unless of course you are just throwing out the union thing because that's what you do.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 4:56 a.m.

The winner is? Check Hartland Consolidated Schools where the town (aka Lake Wobegon) "where the women are strong, the men are good looking, all the children are above average." and 100% of the teachers are highly effective! Who knew?


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 4:42 a.m.

Willow Run, bull. They pass students just to get them out of their classes. That is from many teachers I know from Willow Run.


Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 12:22 a.m.

Excuse me Brian, I attempt to retain students who are below grade level, however if parents do not agree they are "promoted". It is out of our controll. Get you facts straight!

Dog Guy

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 4:40 a.m.

All of us teachers in Ann Arbor are above average. Wake me when it's time to retire.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 3:59 a.m.

100% of AAPS were awarded an effective rating. 100% seems suspicious/unrealistic.

Susie Q

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 2:32 a.m.

Teachers in AAPS have been told that "Highly Effective" ratings are not routinely possible to achieve. "Highly Effective ratings are a place you visit, but do not live". Thus, many of them were VERY surprised to learn that "'Highly Effective'" was a place that many principals, do indeed, live." The new ratings are very discouraging and a disincentive to very accomplished, dedicated and "highly effective" teachers.


Mon, Dec 3, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

'Also, if you promote or hire in 'highly effective' teachers as principals, I would suspect that they would at least stand a good chance of being 'highly effective' principals. They have demonstrated their ability to understand and perform teaching; and they are motivated to seek a higher position that they are familiar with.' While there are indeed additional skills required to be a principal, it seems true that in most professions, the level that is 1 up from your current one requires essential, detailed knowledge of your current one. Such things as working with parents apply to both. Understanding curriculum requirements apply to both. Working with children applies to both. Understanding the pressures, problems, and successes that go with the employees you supervise goes a long way toward successfully working with people; someone who has done that job probably has a better grasp of that than others. Perhaps there is a drastic difference in the skill set required to be a superintendent vs a teacher. They are layers apart. I would not necessarily expect the person that runs Ford to necessarily be able to successfully design a car or engineer a car from the ground up. But I would expect the person in charge of the design department or the engineering department to be able to do so. Again, this is 1 level up - not some huge leap. Please note that I did not say that this is a guarantee. You are the one that used the word 'necessarily'. You can turn almost any statement on its end by changing such words as 'likely', 'probably', 'good chance', etc into things like 'necessarily'.

Roger Kuhlman

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 10:05 p.m.

Why should a 'highly effective' teacher--even it that was an accurate characterizatio--necessarily be a highly effective adminstrator. The skill sets and the work challenges faced by the teacher and the administrator can be very different


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

sh1 I do not consider a staff where everyone is rated 'effective' to be a mediocre staff. Also, if you promote or hire in 'highly effective' teachers as principals, I would suspect that they would at least stand a good chance of being 'highly effective' principals. They have demonstrated their ability to understand and perform teaching; and they are motivated to seek a higher position that they are familiar with. I am not saying that all these ranking are 100% accurate. I am saying that for something new, there are bound to be growing pains. I don't think the results are outrageous even if they aren't perfect. And to others in general, please remember that even a 'highly effective' teacher probably isn't going to be that way with 100% of the students they come in contact with. A high school teacher with 5 classes per day would have about 300 students over 2 semesters. Even if 97% of them loved the teacher and learned a lot, that would still leave 9 students who potentially learned significantly less.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

Not to mention that it doesn't even make sense that a highly effective administrator would be able to garner that distinction with a staff that is so mediocre.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 1:27 a.m.

And how would you rate this aspect of Governor Snyder's school "reform"? Highly effective, effective...

J. A. Pieper

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 12:44 a.m.

AAPS administrators rarely give teachers a rating of Highly Effective, because they feel every teacher needs to continue growing professionally. So I wonder how we can have so many administrators rated as Highly Effective? Is this statistically appropriate? The School Board is going to rank Dr. Green highly because they hired her, and would never admit that she isn't the best. I am sure there are excellent teachers in Willow Run, but could it be a situation of it is just easier to rank everyone highly effective, and not have to document reason for other rankings? It is a very similar situation to how we are evaluating students these days, it is all subjective, and everyone can be marked as reaching all outcomes. It is exactly what the district wants, they have to look good on paper.Plus, it makes is seem like the teacher is doing a great job, and the parents love it too! When an honest teacher tells the parents differently, and has the guts to tell the truth about student learning/achievement, they are told their standards are too high! Believe it or not, there are a lot of untruths about student achievement in AAPS. One principal even stated at a district wide meeting that we are all aware of "Grade Inflation." Would they ever do anything about it? No, it would make them look bad!

Roger Kuhlman

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 10 p.m.

I don't see large numbers of teachers and the Teachers' Union in Ann Arbor asking for a tough but fair evaluation of their performance and rewards based on merit and performance. Instead there seems to be an explicit culture among them of not wanting these things.

Angry Moderate

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 4:11 a.m.

Why don't you Google "merit pay" and then re-think your comment?


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 2:35 a.m.

"Teachers do not want to be evaluated according to how good they are at their jobs." Blanket statement with no proof to back it up. Teachers, like other professionals, are talented and caring people with a few bad apples mixed in.

Angry Moderate

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 1:11 a.m.

I suspect that Ann Arbor simply gave the teachers all the same rating because the district is simply opposed to doing anything based on merit or quality. Teachers do not want to be evaluated according to how good they are at their jobs.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 12:26 a.m.

What a waste of time and effort.

average joe

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 12:19 a.m.

It took me a while, & I knew something didn't seem right, (97% effective rate?) but I finally grasped the reality that it is the administrators of said educators that do the assessments. LOL.....


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

Just to add, since it seems many posters may not know this: Michigan is adding a component to the evaluation process where teachers must demonstrate student learning. This could, for example, be an assessment at the beginning of the semester and then one at the end. I believe that this year (2012-13) the student learning component counts for 20% of the evaluation (this might only be in Ann Arbor - not sure). I believe that the state is eventually planning on increasing this over the next few years.

Roger Kuhlman

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:53 p.m.

Well if teachers are of so little importance in determining how much students learn, we should be paying them a lot less than we do today. Teachers have very plum wages, benefits, and working conditions compared to what most other people experience in the private sector. That is making a lot of people mad especially when schools are mediocre at best and student achievement substandard.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

@CLX, I'm interested in where you got those stats. Could you reply with a link or tell me where? As a teacher I find this interesting, as I've never heard it before. As a science teacher, I'm of the mind to approach this with reasonable skepticism, but it is very intriguing and I'd like to look into it further.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 3:30 a.m.

I would be ridiculous to increase this. Legislators needs to read the literature. A teacher accounts for no more than 30% of a student's success although they can sometimes make up for what the student does not receive at home and thus contribute more than that. A student's intellect is the best predictor of success followed closely by parental influence. Teachers are important, but they cannot make up for what the student lacks at home.

Dan r OBryan

Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 11:31 p.m.

so what are we saying ,[THE YPSI -WILLOW RUN MERGER ].Keep the staff from WILLOW RUN . and fire the staff from Ypsilanti public schools or do we keep half from each district so 50 percent of highly effective and 50 percent of ineffective ,would balance this mess out.


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 11:22 p.m.

So 97% of teachers in the state of Michigan are effective or highly effective. So what happens to the 3% who are neither? Oh that's right, nothing. Their union protects them and they keep their jobs no matter how bad they perform.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 10:47 p.m.

Ann Arbor. One tenured, one not.

Roger Kuhlman

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

Yeah how many teachers have been fired for poor performance in the state of Michigan once they get beyond their initial hiring years?


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

At SH1, what district. I'd maybe like to FOIA the info to see what they were really fired for and how many chances they got before they were fired.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

I know of two teachers who were fired for poor performance, but news stories aren't written about it.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 12:24 p.m.

Thanks SH1, i just spit coffee on my computer screen. There is a teacher at my wife's school that is such a soup sandwich that they hired someone to "co-teach" with her because they are not able to get rid of her.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

Gene they are promoted to admin positions and in turn evaluate other teachers, lol. While my comment is somewhat tongue in cheek, it however is not too far from the truth and if any teachers courage to tell the truth, they will confirm this.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 5:02 a.m.

When was the last time a teacher was terminated from AAPS?


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 11:33 p.m.

That's not true. If you don't pass your evaluation you have to show immediate and consistent improvement or you're out.


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 11:14 p.m.

LOL - Just as I would expect at AAPS. You can't hurt the feelings of students, so you promote them onward, so why would you hurt the feelings of teachers? Give them all the same passing grade and move along. Here I thought that the Teachers had this great rating system all figured out in AAPS and that it was going to be implemented. But then I see a single rating for every teacher. AAPS is proving they can make a farce of anything. Football, teacher ratings, principal ratings if the 18 of 21 comment is true. Way to go Administration and the Board of Education, way to go!


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 11:05 p.m.

Danielle, I have heard that when Ann Arbor's elementary 21 principals were evaluated that 18 of them were given a "highly effective" designation. Can you check on that?

Danielle Arndt

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 12:15 a.m.

sh1, I'd certainly be happy to look into it. Do you know if that was supposedly on 2011-12's evaluation? The reason I ask is because in July of this year, CEPI released a data report pertaining to just principal effectiveness. That report looked at principal's 2010-11 evaluations. And in that data set, AAPS had 14 principals rated as "highly effective" and 19 principals rated as "effective." Here is a link to that story if you are interested: But if you could reply here or shoot me an email if you know during which evaluation cycle what you heard may have occurred, I'd appreciate it. And I will definitely see what I can find out. Thanks for your question!

tom swift jr.

Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 10:38 p.m.

The headline: "Report: Willow Run has greatest percent of 'highly effective' staff in Washtenaw County" really should read "Willow Run has the greatest percent of staff rated as highly effective....."

Roger Kuhlman

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

Probably true in Willow Run if by 'highly effective' we mean something similiar to calling the GM Cavalier a highly effective automobile.

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 4:26 p.m.

With the quotes around 'highly effective,' it is correct.


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

Actually the best performance in the area was by Washtenaw Technical Middle School: 10 out of 10 were highly effective!

Roger Kuhlman

Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 10:33 p.m.

What a joke that 97% of teachers have been rated effective! Then why are our students doing so poorly in terms of outcomes. Teachers' Unions and the rules they set up are the reason our schools are failing so badly. Teachers need to be evaluated in terms of the outcomes they produce and when that happens we find out that many teachers have no business teaching children. These teachers need to find other employment.

Roger Kuhlman

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

If we are not to judge teachers on student outcomes they help produce, what are we supposed to judge teachers on? Teacher's good intentions? Not judge teachers at all--just give them more and more money? Nearly everybody in the world of work gets evaluated and judged on the outcomes they help produce or not produce. Most people get very angry when teachers demand special privileges and say their work can not evaluated like everyone else.

Roger Kuhlman

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:32 p.m.

Sure there are many factors that influence student achievement but teacher effectiveness is the most important factor. There are many bad teachers and bad schools in our public school system and we the public should not tolerate their continuance.


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 11:22 p.m.

Ummm....students are not cars or products..... "Teachers need to be evaluated in terms of the outcomes they produce" They are HUMANS!


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

There are many more factors that go in to student achievement beyond what a teacher can do. Spend some time in a school and you'll see the challenges that exist in the real world.


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 10:19 p.m.

These results seem skewed to me and I would question the methodology as does CEPI "Despite their best efforts, many school districts and charter schools don't have the resources or expertise needed to reliably evaluate teachers and give them the support and feedback they need to grow," the report says. This evaluation seems to me to be a waste of time and money. Like paying an auto mechanic to check out your poorly running car to tell you that your car is running poorly but everything checks out fine.


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 11:26 p.m.

It's called budgetary cuts to Michigan's Public Educational K-12 system to the tune of $900 Million dollars in order to make primary education in this state a "for-profit" business model. "These results seem skewed to me and I would question the methodology as does CEPI "Despite their best efforts, many school districts and charter schools don't have the resources or expertise needed to reliably evaluate teachers and give them the support and feedback they need to grow," the report says."


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

Makes you go hummmmm... I question how someone a teacher can have an evaluation when the supervisor may only observe said teacher for just a few hours or less. I have seen how evaluations have been done in classrooms. I agree that teacher need to make sure that students learn but sometime teachers can just preform and still keep their jobs.

Susie Q

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

The principals haven't enough time to spend more than a few hours over the course of a year in a teacher's classroom. Principals have been cut and their responsibilities increased. Annual evaluations for all teachers will be perfunctory at best unless more funding is provided. Principals have many duties and teacher evals are VERY important, but only part of their daily "grind".


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 10:09 p.m.

Whats Willow Run's graduation rate?


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.

at Ypsi Girl, sooo then if a teacher stood in front of a brick wall and was able to rattle off points from a curriculum, that makes them effective? Thats like taking your car to the mechanic and having them say " ma'am, your fan belt is broken, however I can't fix it." Not a very effective mechanic eh? BTW what is the criteria that the teachers are rated on and by whom are they rated?


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 11:57 p.m.

Angry "Moderate", Read again.... this report rated the teachers in instruction of assigned lessons and administration of learning plans. Students are a factor but this report rated the TEACHER with providing said instruction....

Angry Moderate

Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 11:47 p.m.

What the heck are they "effective" at, if not teaching STUDENTS?


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 10:44 p.m.

Read, Willow Run's Teachers were the MOST highly effective in Washtenaw County! This report was focused on TEACHERS not STUDENTS.


Thu, Nov 29, 2012 : 10:08 p.m.

Now we need to rate the parents raising those kids that these teacher ratings depends on. A child's homelife has a much greater impact on their educations sucess than someone who gets to spend about 5 hours a day, for 180 days, with them.


Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 3:01 a.m.

Thank you treetown for stating the obvious! and don't forget that a child gets a new teacher every year. Most children have the same parents throughout their life.