Source: Sherman Publications

Carpenter ranked in top 30

September 21, 2011

By Olivia Shumaker

Special Writer for The Review

Carpenter Elementary School has scored with the state.

The year-round school was recently ranked among the top 30 in the state by the Michigan Department of Education. The ranking was based on student achievement in standardized state tests, as well as the educational growth of students over time.

Carpenter is being recognized for what many parents in Lake Orion already knew – it produces successful students. The state looks at data that ranks schools based on their performance in mathematics, reading, science, social studies and writing. They recognize the top one percent, of which Carpenter ranked.

“It’s pretty impressive in public schools that Carpenter was ranked that high,” said Nancy Archer, a parent of a second grader at the school. “They’re doing something right.”

Carpenter features a balanced schedule, including six weeks off in the summer instead of ten. The other four weeks are dispersed throughout the year, so that Carpenter is in session the same amount of days as other schools.

Since students tend to forget less over the shorter breaks, teachers can spend less time reviewing and students learn more over the course of a year, administrators say.

“Our MEAP scores are usually pretty high, and I definitely think it has to do with our calendar,” said Principal Kerri Anderson.

Carpenter also offers optional educational intercessions over breaks. Students pay a fee to attend and come to school during regular hours to take part in theme-based educational activities, providing them with additional year-round learning opportunities not found at traditional elementary schools.

Fourth grade parent and intersession coordinator Mary Beth Anker said the program gives students the chance to learn about a subject in depth, keeping kids “ahead of the curve”.

“This is a school where all the stakeholders have a singular vision: do what is best for students,” said first grade teacher Michael Collison.

The Michigan Department of Education has put out its list in order to show schools what their peers are doing right, or wrong. They hope to note achievements, as well as shortcomings, of Michigan students in different school buildings.

“We never stop looking for more effective ways to reach all of our students,” said Carpenter fourth grade teacher Becky Allen. “We don’t accept failure, and if a student struggles everyone jumps on board and comes to the rescue.”