8 Detroit Public Schools honored by Mackinac Center as among the best in the state

Thirkell Elementary School is the state’s highest rated elementary-middle school

Leaders from eight Detroit Public Schools ranked among the best elementary-middle schools in the state by Mackinac Center for Public Policy joined parents, staff and students at Thirkell Elementary School—the state’s highest rated school—during a special assembly on July 9, 2013.

In all, two Detroit Public Schools—Thirkell and Davison—were among the top eight in the state of Michigan, and two DPS-authorized charters were among the top 10 schools in the state—Ross-Hill Academy and Martin Luther King Jr. Education Center.

Additional DPS schools in the top 100 recognized during the assembly were:  Ronald Brown, Harms, Clippert, Pasteur, Chrysler and Burton International.

The author of the study, Mackinac Center’s Director of Education Policy Audrey Spaulding, made the presentation at Thirkell Tuesday.

Attendees at the event included:

  • Roy Roberts, Emergency Manager of Detroit Public Schools
  • Audrey Spaulding, Mackinac Center’s Director of Education Policy
  • Dan Armstrong, Mackinac Center’s Marketing and Communications Team Leader
  • Dr. Clara Smith, Principal, Thirkell Elementary
  • Joseph Hines, Lead Teacher, Davison Elementary-Middle School
  • Damon Sewell, Principal, Ronald Brown Academy
  • Dr. Karen White, Principal, Harms Elementary
  • Angela Tolbert, Counselor, Clippert Academy
  • Sharon Lawson, Principal, Pasteur Elementary
  • Wendy Shirley, Principal, Chrysler Elementary
  • Robyn Williams, Asst. Principal, Burton International School

More about the Context and Performance Report Card

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy released a report card that ranks 2,362 elementary and middle schools in Michigan. The Context and Performance report card takes student poverty level into account, in order to better examine school performance, and is based on four years of student test scores. This CAP report card is an “apples-to-apples” comparison for parents and policymakers.

According to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “although about 90 percent of Thirkell’s students are from low-income households, 84 percent of fifth-graders scored proficient on the MEAP mathematics and reading tests in 2012. Thirkell students, on average, did far better on the MEAP than the state average. Adjusting for student background makes Thirkell’s success even clearer.”

Guests at Tuesday’s assembly also experienced Thirkell City, the result of a year-long, all-student hands-on educational project that resulted from research, writing and creating a 3-D city that spans the school.

Thirkell Elementary is an example of the tremendous impact a first-class leader can have on a school’s performance, according to Spalding.

Earlier this year, Thirkell and Davison were rated by Excellent Schools Detroit as the best schools in the city of Detroit based on two years of MEAP data. Twelve DPS schools comprised the top 20 in that report card, including Harms, Clippert, Pasteur, Chrysler and Burton, along with Garvey Academy, Vernor, Bates, Maybury, Wright and Dixon. In another ESD report on school organization affecting student progress, more than half of all DPS schools were rated as “well organized,” with Davison the best in DPS and Edison, Carson, Bennett, Chrysler, Clippert, Coleman Young, DSA, Gompers, Hutchinson @ Howe, Maybury, Nichols, Pasteur and Clemente ranking highly.

Read the full Mackinac Center for Public Policy story

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