2018-04-15 / News

Local school data easier to find on state education website

By Jeanne Marcello
Staff Reporter

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) recently launched two new online search programs to provide information about Michigan schools online. The Parent Dash Board for School Transparency was launched in January and the Michigan School Index at the beginning of April. Both are accessed through the Michigan School Data website, www.mischooldata.org.

The Parent Dashboard was developed to provide parents information about Michigan schools, including public schools and public school academies. It provides more details than what is required by state and federal reporting laws.

The Parent Dashboard includes graphs that indicate not only how an individual school is rated on a scale of zero to 100, but also how it compares with the state average and comparable schools in the state.

Both systems show the percentage of students that are economically disadvantaged, as well as the graduation rate. These statistics are watched together, as they often appear to be related as opposites.

For instance, 26.9 percent of students attending New Lothrop Public Schools are economically disadvantaged. The school district has a high graduation rate of 98.73 percent. (This is a low percentage of economically disadvantaged with a high graduation rate.)

Whereas, Montrose Community Schools, where 57.7 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged, the high school graduation rate is 67.86 percent. (This is a high percentage of economically disadvantaged with a lower graduation rate.)

There are many other factors that influence student performance and graduation rates. The Parent Dashboard is designed to make it easier for parents to evaluate a school or a school district for themselves.

The Michigan School Index System contains some of the same information as the Parent Dashboard, but is used differently. The Michigan School Index System is used to identify schools for support.

These web pages attempt to make the information more transparent, but without revealing any information about individual students.

Below are some of the key performance indicators provided on both the Michigan School Index and Parent Dashboard addressing local schools in Chesaning, Montrose, New Lothrop and St. Charles. These are rated on a scale of zero to 100, with 100 being the best.

CHESANING UNION SCHOOLS

According to the Michigan School Index, Chesaning Union Schools has the highest scores among local schools with overall scores of 92.68 for Big Rock Elementary, 91.07 for Chesaning Middle School and 84.84 for Chesaning High School. Chesaning also scored very high for student proficiency with 95.72 for Big Rock, 87.66 for Chesaning Middle School and 90.43 for Chesaning High School.

The Parent Dashboard also indicates that Chesaning Union Schools has a student population of 2,812. The student to teacher ratio is 23 to one. It has a graduation rate of 85.19 percent with 53.6 percent of students falling into the category of economically disadvantaged.

Financially, Chesaning receives the standard foundation allowance of $7,511 per pupil in state funding. When combined with other revenue sources, Chesaning receives $9,424 per pupil. Chesaning Community Schools carried a fund balance of 8.4 percent during 2016- 2017 school budget.

NEW LOTHROP PUBLIC SCHOOLS

New Lothrop Public Schools also showed very high scores on the Michigan School Index. The overall school scores were 89.74 for New Lothrop Elementary School and 93.6 for New Lothrop High School. (This school district doesn’t have a separate building for middle school.) The student proficiency scores are 89.32 for New Lothrop Elementary School and 93.41 for New Lothrop High School.

The Parent Dashboard shows the New Lothrop Public School District has a student population of 1,800. The student to teacher ratio is 21 to one. It has a graduation rate of 98.73 percent with 26.9 percent of the students being economically disadvantaged.

Financially, New Lothrop receives the standard foundation allowance of $7,511 per pupil in state funding. When combined with other revenue sources, New Lothrop receives $8,521 per pupil. New Lothrop Public Schools carried a fund balance of 12.9 percent during 2016-2017 school budget.

ST. CHARLES COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

According to the Michigan School Index, St. Charles Community Schools scores just above state average overall, with St. Charles Elementary School at 87.04, St. Charles Middle School and St. Charles High School at 59.37. When focused on student performance, St. Charles schools improve its standing with 80.74 for St. Charles Elementary, with 73.25 for St. Charles Middle School and St. Charles High School.

The Parent Dashboard states St. Charles Community Schools has a student population of 917. The student to teacher ratio is 25 to one. It has a graduation rate of 75.51 percent, with 51.7 percent of students being economically disadvantaged.

Financially, St. Charles Community Schools receive the standard foundation allowance of $7,511 per pupil in state funding. When combined with other funding sources, St. Charles receives $9,310 per pupil. St. Charles Community Schools carried a fund balance of 12.1 percent.

MONTROSE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

The Michigan School Index shows Montrose Community Schools, which has a higher at-risk student population, scores fairly high with Carter Elementary School at 79.68, Kuhn-Haven Middle School at 63.67 and Hill-McCloy High School at 84.67. It’s school quality and student success numbers are strong for Carter at 83.47 and Kuehn-Haven at 95.2; Hill-McCloy scored 76.26 in quality and student success.

The Parent Dashboard indicates Montrose Community School District has a student population of 1,427. The student to teacher ratio is 26 to one. It has a graduation rate of 67.86 percent, with 57.7 percent of students being economically disadvantaged.

Financially, Montrose Community Schools receive a larger than average foundation allowance of $7,594 per pupil, which is $83 more per student than most. When combined with additional funding sources, the district receives $5,584 per pupil.

Montrose also has a higher fund balance than most schools at 24.1 percent. One thing the state website does not reflect is the larger fund balance in Montrose is due to the incentive program that encourages all staff to spend school funds wisely.

For more information, visit www.mischooldata.org. The Parent Dashboard is easy to find on the main page. The Michigan School Index is under “K-12th grade” and then “school index.” Just type in the name of the school.

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