Northern Michigan Schools Removed From State School Focus List

Schools across the state are thrilled to hear they are now off Michigan’s infamous school focus list.

The state looks at standardized test results to identify schools with a large gap between their highest performing students and their lowest performing.

Wednesday the Michigan Department of Education removed 96 of those schools from the focus list because of noticeable improvements to close that learning gap.

“You end up on the focus school list when the gap between your highest achieving 30% and your lowest achieving 30% is in the top 5 percent in the state,” says Kingsley Area Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith Smith.

He says no school wants to be on the focus list, but Kingsley Middle School was.

“We’ve really targeted and make sure that the students in the bottom 30% are receiving multiple interventions. There was a real effort to make sure that every student was receiving multiple different strategies to learn it differently if they didn’t learn it the first time,” says the superintendent.

 It’s not just the kids who need the extra attention. Kingsley Area Schools sought out help from TBAISD subject specialists to help teachers.

Math Specialist Karen Reister says, “Really you look at the data and try to determine what is going on in the classrooms. We really look at the core instruction and whether or not the core instruction is working and you do that through various means.”

And the state isn’t the only one noticing improvements.

Katy Bies has one child left at Kingsley Middle School and says she’s seen a significant change. “A change in communication and the homework and the reading levels in the kids that have improved. I’ve seen more interaction between the teachers and the parents; there’s been a focus group that I was involved in to try to you know make improvements.”

Math specialist Karen Reister credits the teachers. “Because the teachers are willing to work together and work hard and care about improving for their students that it’s very exciting to see that their hard work has paid off.”

Kingsley Middle School isn’t the only Northern Michigan school removed from the list. For a complete list click here