Academic State Champions

CHASSELL – Bridge Magazine has once again named its Academic State Champions, and both Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium and Keweenaw and Chassell Township School District have made the grade.

Using a formula based on socioeconomic factors and a number of categories, Bridge ranked schools a little differently this year.

“They looked at socioeconomic issues with schools and different predictors, and what kind of scores typically happen for each socioeconomic group,” Chassell Superintendent George Stockero said. “They can also look back at what happened in the past, so then they examined who’s outperforming where they should be.

“It’s taking the kids you have and outperforming what’s expected.”

Last year, nine Upper Peninsula schools were named Academic State Champions; this year, only three were honored, with the third being West Iron County. In all, 52 of the 560 schools taken into account by Bridge Magazine were named Academic State Champion, which meant the school was in the top 10 of one of a number of categories: fourth grade scores, eighth grade scores, 11th grade scores, rural schools, city schools, affluent schools and low-income schools. They also had an overall category, of which Calumet was 18th in the state and Chassell was 30th, the only two Upper Peninsula schools in the top 40. That puts both schools in the top 5 percent in the state.

In the rural school category, Calumet was named the second-best school in the state while Chassell received the fourth-best ranking. Calumet also garnered a sixth-best ranking for its 11th grade scores

In a time of constrained budgets, Stockero is happy his district could continue to perform at a high level.

“The school’s very proud, especially for doing this two years in a row,” Stockero said. “Everybody’s making cuts and we’re always doing what we can to keep services going. That is special to still get these awards knowing we are doing more with less.”

Chassell also notched a third-best ranking in eighth-grade scores, meaning its eighth grade students placed in the top 2 percent in the state.

“My teachers and I are very proud of what’s going on,” Stockero said. “We’re working very hard to make sure no kid falls through the cracks.”

The formula utilized to devise these rankings was created by Education Trust Midwest Research, according to Stockero, the same group that helped lead the state development of tenure and teacher reforms. The same rankings may, in fact, be used for teachers’ evaluations in the near future.

“It’s a value system these people created here,” Stockero said.

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