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3 Michigan high schools rank in top 100 in nation

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Three Michigan high schools were ranked in the top 100 nationwide by U.S. News & World Report in its 2018 edition of best high schools, and the International Academy of Macomb was ranked the top magnet school in the nation.

International Academy of Macomb sophomores work on a project in their MYP Physics class, Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Clinton Township, Mich.

Magnet high schools are public high schools that typically attract the most talented students in a region using an application process that usually involves test scores and grade-point averages, according to U.S. News.

In national rankings issued annually by the media company, the International Academy of Macomb, part of Chippewa Valley Schools in Clinton Township, ranked seventh; the International Academy in Bloomfield Hills, which is run by Oakland Schools, ranked 30th; and Washtenaw International High School in Ypsilanti, operated by the Washtenaw Educational Options Consortium, ranked 41st.

More:Search: U.S. News & World Report's 2018 ranking of Michigan high schools

International Academy of Macomb principal Eric Sturm said this is the first year the school, which has about 500 students, made the list because in past years the International Baccalaureate schools were not considered. The school opened in 2008.

“The big things for us is we draw from 18 districts in Macomb County,” Sturm said. “We are most proud of our diversity, whether it socio-economic, religious. The kids come from a variety of diversities. For us, this ranking is representative of that.”

The rankings, released on Wednesday, can be found here. They were a marked improvement from Michigan’s school rankings on the list in 2017, when no Michigan school ranked in the top 200 in the best high schools category.

Michigan had 860 eligible high schools in the 2018 rankings, which evaluate more than 20,500 public high schools nationwide, to identify schools that best serve all of their students — including historically underserved populations — and assess the degree to which students are prepared for college-level coursework.

No Michigan schools made the Top 10 list for Best STEM High Schools. Grand River Preparatory High School ranked 77th nationally among charter schools evaluated by U.S. News.

In a list of state rankings, the following schools filled out the Top 10 list for Michigan: Grand River Preparatory High School in Kentwood, Rochester Adams High School in Rochester Hills, Troy High School, Frankenmuth High School, Saline High School, Stoney Creek High School in Rochester Hills, and Northville High School.

International Academy of Macomb sophomores Holden Brozowski, left foreground, and Zandee Nelson work on their Algebra II assignments, Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Clinton Township.

Top-performing high schools receive gold, silver and bronze medal recognition from U.S. News, with gold medals indicating the greatest level of college readiness. Seven Michigan schools were rated Gold Medal schools, 95 were Silver Medal schools and 52 were Bronze Medal schools.

Officials with U.S. News said the rankings emphasize student outcomes, incorporating data on graduation rates and state assessments. Students at the 5,948 schools that receive national recognition from U.S. News graduate at rates that are 12 percentage points higher, on average, than students at other schools throughout the country.

“Top-ranked schools succeed in three main areas: exceeding expectations on state proficiency tests, offering challenging coursework and graduating their students,” said Anita Narayan, managing editor of education at U.S. News. “We encourage parents to use the best high schools rankings and data to research which schools in their state and nationwide are ensuring students are well-equipped for the future.”

The rankings feature data on a number of factors, including enrollment, graduation rates, diversity, participation in free and reduced-price lunch programs and the results of state assessments, as well as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate test data.

David Dugger, executive director of the Washtenaw Educational Options Consortium, said Washtenaw International High School, which has about 550 students, is an IB world diploma school where students can receive the only internationally recognized high school diploma in the world.

“It is highly rigorous with high expectations for staff, faculty and the administration. Like all WEOC programs, we focus on instructional depth not breadth, as we discovered years ago that the traditional content-driven educationally models are significantly less effective than standards-based, mastery learning models,” Dugger said.

Unlike magnet programs, WEOC programs do not have admission standards or requirements other than students must be at grade level, Dugger said.

“WEOC programs educate every student we get to the best of our ability,” he said.

In 2017, Michigan had no high schools in the top 200 rankings for Best High Schools. Wellspring Preparatory High School in Grand Rapids was ranked No. 211 among best high schools nationally.

Under the category of best STEM schools in 2017, Saline High School ranked No. 102 and Troy High School ranked No. 107. Novi High School ranked No. 92 in best Magnet schools for 2017. Wellspring ranked No. 65 among best charter schools in 2017.

Top 10 Michigan high schools ranked by state

International Academy of Macomb, Clinton Township

International Academy, Bloomfield Hills

Washtenaw International High School, Ypsilanti

Grand River Preparatory High School, Kentwood

Rochester Adams High School, Rochester Hills

Troy High School

Frankenmuth High School

Saline High School

Stoney Creek High School, Rochester Hills

Northville High School

Source: U.S. News & World Report