A parenting perspective on the latest headlines
May 11, 2012
Best Michigan High Schools? US News & World Report Weighs In
The International Academy in Bloomfield Hills ranks No. 5 in the nation, the magazine says; learn about the rankings and other awesome metro Detroit and Ann Arbor area winners
Six Michigan schools are among the top 500 in the country, according to the new 2012 US News & World Report Best High Schools rankings – with the International Academy in Bloomfield Hills rated as No. 5. Other top local schools included Grosse Pointe South High School in Grosse Pointe Farms and Troy High School in Troy.
The US News teamed up with the American Institutes for Research, or AIR, a behavioral and social science research organization based in Washington, D.C., to come up with the best high schools rankings.
AIR and US News looked at 21,776 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia that had 12th-grade enrollment and sufficient data for analysis. Information from the 2009-10 school year was the main focus.
About International Academy
International Academy principal Lynne Gibson said that being name No. 5 is a tremendous honor for the high school.
"We are indeed fortunate to have dedicated and knowledgeable staff, curious and motivated students, engaged and involved parents, and supportive consortium districts," Gibson said. "Our high academic expectations – combined with our student-centered culture – makes us exceptional."
The International Academy opened in August of 1996, and was the first all-International Baccalaureate-diploma high school in North America. Students can earn up to a year of college credit before graduation. Currently, the International Academy has 163 students enrolled, and campuses in Bloomfield Hills, Troy and White Lake.
The ranking method
There was a three-step process used to decide the Best High Schools. The first step determined whether students in each school were performing better than the expected statistical average for students in that state.
If a school passed that bar, the second step examined whether the least-advantaged students – such as minorities and those from low-income families – performed above the average for similar students within that state.
The final step was to evaluate college-readiness performance. This was determined using either Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test data – whichever program was more prominent at the school. Both programs offer college-level courses in high schools throughout the country.
Jack Rosette, a 2009 graduate from the International Academy and current University of Michigan student, said that programs at the school definitely prepared him for his first couple of years of college.
"I knew how to write critical essays, research papers and formal lab write-ups better than 95 percent of my classmates," he said. "In the upper levels of college, it's a different story. But my preliminary undergraduate classes were a breeze, even here."
Who else was top-notch?
The 4,877 top-scoring schools were rated by US News as gold, silver or bronze. Gold medals were awarded to schools with the highest college readiness index values, and those schools ranked from No. 1 to No. 500 (including the International Academy).
The silver medal winners were the next group of highest college-readiness schools, and they ranked from No. 501 to No. 2,008.
An additional 2,869 high schools passed the first two steps of the process, but they either don't offer any AP or IB courses – or their college readiness index was less than the median needed to rank as a silver. These schools were not given a numerical ranking, but they're listed alphabetically.
There were some changes in methodology from the last report, published in December of 2009. This time, there was a larger proportion of medal-winning schools. The number increased from about 9 percent of the eligible schools to be analyzed to nearly 29 percent.
The US News also increased the number of ranked schools to 2,008 – instead of just the top 100 gold schools being numerically ranked. Additionally, there was a lower-college readiness threshold to decide a school's medal status. These changes resulted in almost three times more high schools getting a gold, silver or bronze ranking in 2012 compared to 2009.
The local winners
Here are the 13 southeast Michigan schools in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne Counties that ranked within the top 2,000 in the country.
Gold Medal schools
Silver Medal schools
Saline High School, Saline (No. 525)
Rochester Adams High School, Rochester Hills (No. 785)
Pioneer High School, Ann Arbor (No. 797)
Huron High School, Ann Arbor (No. 808)
Chelsea High School, Chelsea (No. 906)
Sterling Heights Senior High School, Sterling Heights (No. 1,129)
Rochester High School, Rochester Hills (No. 1,417)
Renaissance High School, Detroit (No. 1,508)
Dearborn High School, Dearborn (No. 1,848)
Fordson High School, Dearborn (No. 2,007)