Michigan magazine conducts a study; which schools are best?

classroom tech
Schools and educators in Michigan seem to be coming around to the idea of technology in the classroom and even a new approach to homework.

Crawford AuSable schools in Grayling have earned top 3 rankings according to Bridge Magazine.

Bridge created what it calls Academic State Champs. The list comes from an annual ranking database that uses schools’ test scores and socioeconomic status as a means to measure overall success.

Ron French, Senior Writer for Bridge Magazine, said the study took the test scores and adjusted the scores to the income level of the students.

“By doing that, you raise a question to whether some of the best teaching in the state is taking place in high poverty schools that raise their test scores to, really, just mediocre levels,” he said. “The question is, is there something that can be learned from those low-income schools that are doing so well, that can be applied across the state.”

Crawford AuSable officials credit its success to how its faculty has converted curriculum and the approach to learning.

Joe Powers, Superintendent of the Crawford AuSable school district in Grayling, says homework shouldn’t be about right or wrong. Rather, he said, the focus should be, “Can it make students from any background more proficient?”

“Homework can be seen as a motivator, ‘i.e.’ if you don’t get your homework done, then you get a zero,” Powers said. “But through our poverty strain, we realize that we could not apply middle class rules to families and students from poverty.”

In addition, Crawford AuSable created the “Bring Your Own Device” initiative. Using funds from a bond issue, the district delivered 24-7 access of a Google Chromebook or an iPad to all students from the eighth grade and above.

Since the district is rather large, Powers added, buses have Wi-Fi so the students can do homework while riding to and from school.

Bridge Magazine’s database can be found on its website.