LANSING (WWJ) – More than 280 schools in Michigan are getting the designation as “Reward Schools” for either high student achievement or making tremendous progress in student achievement.  Meantime, many public schools in Detroit and across the state continue to struggle.

That’s the report card from the Michigan Department of Education on Thursday.

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(Scroll down to find where your school stands)

Vanessa Keesler, the head of evaluation research and accountability with the department, said the reward designation helps the state lift up and highlight schools that are improving.

Speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950, Kessley said the report also draws attention to “Priority Schools,” which are the lowest-performing schools and “Focus Schools” which are the schools with the largest achievement gaps, so that they can target making sure that all Michigan schools go forward.

So, how are Michigan students doing compared to last year?

“In terms of our adequate yearly progress, we had more schools pass AYP, adequate yearly progress, this year than last year, so that’s been an improvement for Michigan,” Kessley said.

Kessley said that the 146 schools designated as “Priority Schools” will be placed under the jurisdiction of the state reform office.

“And they are required to design and implement a plan to ensure rapid turnaround in their performance over time,” she said.

Kessley said those priority schools are spread across 49 different school districts — 25 percent of those schools are in Detroit.

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Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts said that’s down by 12 percent from 2011. He said of the 58 DPS schools on the list, action has already been taken in 21 — whether it be transfer to the Education Achievement System (EEA)  — a new statewide school system that will operate the lowest performing 5 percent of schools in Michigan — conversion to DPS-Authorized charter, or closure.

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“No excuses. Failure and mediocrity will no longer be accepted within Detroit Public Schools,” said Roberts, in a statement released Thursday.

“We will review very closely the specific school reports to have a fuller understanding of the specific causes for placement on this list and to ensure that the Principals have that data and tools to improve. Every school will be expected to prepare an improvement plan and must work with Wayne RESA and intervention specialists from Michigan State University.

“DPS will look closely particularly at schools that have been on this list for more than one year as we create plans moving forward to close and consolidate schools. As I have said many times, DPS will never again close a high performing school and will establish a clear practice to close programs and schools that continue to fail our children.

Our goal should be to have Detroit schools placed on the “Reward Schools” List/Category with best practices that can be replicated across this city.”

Where Do Your Neighborhood Schools Stand?

For individual school and district data, visit and click on Dashboard & School Report Card button located on the left.

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Reward School information can be found at; Focus School information is available at; Priority School (formerly Persistently Lowest Achieving School) information is at; and Top to Bottom ranking information is at