Traverse City Record-Eagle

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January 31, 2014

Benzie Central top-ranked district

TRAVERSE CITY — One local school district ranked in the top 10 and three others in the top 20 school systems statewide, based on a formula intended to calculate student performance relative to socioeconomic levels.

Benzie County Central Schools finished 10th, Frankfort-Elberta Area Schools finished 11th, Kingsley Area Schools finished 13th and Leland Public School finished 17th in Academic State Champ rankings released by “Bridge Magazine” this week.

“We’re really proud of our students and community and families, who take a great deal of pride in our students and their achievement,” Benzie Superintendent Dave Micinski said.

The magazine calculated the rankings with a formula that compared district scores on standardized tests across grades relative to expected scores based on students’ socioeconomic status, according to an explanation of the study.

Jason Stowe, superintendent of Leland Public School, said he doesn’t read too much into rankings on lists like the magazine’s. He was more proud of how the district’s test scores improved by grade. Leland students ranked 319 in fourth grade test results statewide and 16 in 11th grade results.

“You have to look at your school improvement goal, and our main school improvement goal is to be college- and work-ready,” Stowe said. “Our rankings go up dramatically.”

Other top 100 finishes by districts in Traverse Bay Area Intermediate District included Elk Rapids Public Schools at 58, Alba Public School at 67 and Mancelona Public Schools at 88.

The public charter school Grand Traverse Academy fell from 81 last year to 204 this year, while Glen Lake Community Schools fell from 73 to 113.

Traverse City Area Public Schools ranked 161 this year.

The study, performed by the magazine and the Lansing-based research firm Public Sector Consultants, ranked 540 public school districts and charter schools.

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