Ranked No. 1 elementary school in the city of Detroit by Excellent Schools Detroit!
What does it take to be the No. 1 ranked elementary school in the largest city in the state of Michigan? According to the chart-topping staff, students and administrators of Charles Wright Academy of Arts and Science, it takes phenomenal leadership, creative ideas and holding all stakeholders accountable for the unique role they play within the school community.
“Everyone plays a role in making this school the best that it can possibly be,” said Principal Kimberly Davis. “Being ranked the number one school in the city is like a payoff for all the hard work we begin implementing at the very beginning of each school year.”
What’s their secret?
Charles Wright Academy of Arts and Science, offering grades Pre-K-4, has been honored as one of the Excellent Schools Detroit (ESD) top performing schools for two consecutive years. In early September 2014, Charles Wright was named the highest-rated elementary school in the City of Detroit. DPS’ Renaissance High School ranks No. 1 for grades 9-12.
A total of 28 Detroit Public Schools were ranked as top-recommended schools at the pre-kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school levels by ESD based on a grade system that takes into account how students perform on standardized tests, how much they’re learning over the course of the school year, annual improvement rates, and from feedback provided by community reviewers who observed each school’s environment and culture during a site visit.
According to Excellent Schools Detroit, “these schools will help students learn what they need to know and will allow students adequate opportunities to succeed in college and work.”
The top-rated Charles Wright offers a technology-rich learning environment where students thrive academically and showcase increases on the MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program) annually.
The school’s technology-driven learning environment prepares young scholars to perform at their best by equipping them with 21st Century learning tools. Charles Wright has two computer laps and each classroom boasts at least six computers. Students and staff have access to an Apple laptop cart, digital document readers, NEO 2 devices and SMARTBoards.
“Technology is the way to go, and it is a very important factor in our society. Students need to know how to utilize these tools to function effectively in their futures,” Principal Davis said.
Even more important than being tech-savvy, Charles Wright is data-savvy as well. Data is a critical component to how Charles Wright was able to capture the top spot amongst the city’s elementary schools, Davis said. Success For All Reading Instructor Tracey Jones said it is important for not only staff members to know their data, but students too.
“My favorite word is data,” Jones said, “and we are always looking for new trends in the data. Everyone is active in capturing and understanding data, especially our students. The students need to be held accountable for their school’s numbers – attendance, grades, and scores – just as much as anyone because it is their work and they should want to take ownership. It is really fantastic to watch them own their work.”
Charles Wright community members consider themselves “action researchers” in which all stakeholders take responsibility in creating new ideas, intervene on any arising problems and come up with action plans.
“It is really important to stay up to date and on topic because knowing these things will be important later in life,” said fourth-grader Taylor Williams.
Williams describes Charles Wright as a family-oriented school that is like her second home. She explained that being ranked as an ESD school is very important because it brings more people and attention to the great things happening at the school.
“Our curriculum is always operating in a continuum. No matter what position you hold here – student, parent or staff – your role is vital,” Davis added. “It is a very humbling experience to be along on this journey to the top. I am proud to be a part of this amazing school.”
“We continue to work,” said Principal Davis. Aside from maintaining the number one ranking, providing a 21st Century education, and instilling the importance of data and accountability, Davis still runs a multifaceted program which offers drama, science and math clubs, a performing arts program, art, a safety program, writing fairs and more.
“We do what we do because we believe in our school and our students, and we are able to do this because Principal Davis supports us,” said Jones.
The challenge is up for grabs!
Davis challenges any and everyone who wants to experience top-rated teaching and learning in a state-of-the-art building to visit Charles Wright Academy for grades Pre-K-4! For students transitioning to grade 5, Ludington Magnet Middle School – located at 19501 Berg Rd. adjacent to Charles Wright – offers a rigorous Honors School for grades 5-8. The program allows students to be engaged in project-based learning with a curriculum that will prepare them for advanced placement, college, and future careers.