When it comes to assessing school performance, the Lansing School District is at the bottom of the list. The Michigan Department of Education released its scorecard today evaluating schools. Lansing is again fighting for drastic improvement.
The state uses a color-coded system to rank schools based on how they show improvement and meet goals. Green is the highest and red the lowest, with lime, yellow and orange in between. The Lansing School District is in the red for another year.
"All the staff at all the schools of course have been singularly focused on improvement, there's nothing else that matters," said Lansing Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul.
Eastern High and five elementary schools were labeled as priority, meaning they're in the bottom 5 percent statewide. Three of those elementary schools are new to the priority list, Cavanaugh, Willow and North. The other two, Reo and Riddle have been on the priority list before.
Everett and J.W. Sexton High Schools improved out of the bottom 5 percent but they're not in the clear.
"Once you're identified as a priority school you're on that list for about four years no matter how well you do on your achievement," Caamal Canul said.
A school on the priority list must create an intervention plan to boost student achievement.
The school district says Eastern High has made some improvements over the past year, but not enough to get them off the priority list. Now they're hoping a new strategic plan will make that difference.
"This is a dramatic change from improvement plans in the past the superintendent is looking at a very different governance model a very different learning environment over there," said Peter Spadafore, president of the Lansing School Board.
That starts with a new board to oversee the school and extending the school day to seven hours. Changes are also happening across the district with the school board approving a 5-year plan last month.
"Is there work to be done? Absolutely there's a lot of work to be done, but we're doing that work and we've got a team in place that's ready to handle those challenges," Spadafore said.
Something the district hopes will pay off in the long-run.
"As long as we're believing this and we're implementing a plan that supports good teaching and good education we will be off that list," Caamal Canul said.