Parents and students in Detroit now have a simple way to find a quality school, thanks to local organization Excellent Schools Detroit.
The nonprofit, whose focus is getting Detroit children quality education, released its 2013 scorecard on Aug. 7, giving about 75 percent of the city's schools a letter grade based on factors such as test scores, students' learning during the school year, progress and school climate, according to a press release.
The organization evaluated 204 public, charter, private and parochial schools in the city. About 75 percent of the schools – 149 in all – were given a grade. The schools that did not receive a grade were new or were starting fresh after a state mandate, the release notes.
Some of the specific factors Excellent Schools Detroit evaluated were two-year averages of the schools' math, reading and writing, and science and social studies proficiency rates. It also looked at the change in performance level for the schools – and surveyed thousands of students and teachers on the schools' Detroit 5Essentials: "effective leaders, collaborative teachers, involved families, supportive environment and ambitious instruction," the group notes in the release. Parents, educators and others in the community also completed reviews.
The results? Approximately one out of four Detroit schools made the group's C+ standard or better – or they're "promising."
"We're pleased that we can finally draw a bright line between good schools that we'd recommend and those that are not good enough," Dan Varner, chief executive officer of Excellent Schools Detroit, said in the press release. "Our kids deserve a quality education, and we finally have apples-to-apples comparisons to help parents make informed school choice decisions."
The 2013 scorecard, although it's the fourth scorecard from Excellent Schools Detroit, is the first to give schools a letter grade.
Parents and students wondering if their school made the grade – or who are searching for a school to attend – can access the scorecard online. The site offers visitors the option to search the scorecard by school name, ZIP code and grade – and get detailed information on the school's academic status, academic progress, school climate, extra-curricular activities, special needs offerings and more.
Overall, the top 10 schools in Detroit, by letter grade, are:
- Davison Elementary-Middle School: B+, 74/100 (public)
- Detroit Merit Charter Academy: B+, 74/100 (charter)
- Renaissance High School: B+, 73/100 (public)
- Cass Technical High School: B+, 72/100 (public)
- Thirkell Elementary School: B+, 72/100 (public)
- Communication & Media Arts High School: B, 67/100 (public)
- University Preparatory Academy Elementary Mark Murray: B, 65/100 (charter)
- Bates Academy: B, 64/100 (public)
- Chandler Park Academy – High School: B, 64/100 (charter)
- Davis Aerospace Technical High School: B, 63/100 (public)
"Right now, 25 percent of our schools are going to help our children succeed," Varner said in the release. "Now we need to bring everyone else up to that level. The bar has been set."