Delta Township, MI - Waverly Community Schools has reason to celebrate the State Report Card rankings this year.
"Improvement is exciting," says Waverly Superintendent Terry Urquhart. "It is exciting to see kids learn."
Things are looking up especially for Waverly Senior High School. After 2013's disappointing ranking that put the high school in the 16th percentile statewide, the Warriors jumped 33% this year, to the 49th percentile.
"The district has done well and that's something that I'm very pleased to say," says Superintendent Urquhart. "(The) high school has certainly led the way."
What's behind this 33 percent jump? Urquhart says it is because of four big changes the high school implemented as a group.
First, the school worked on increasing class engagement.
"Teachers have brought in some outside help and done some PD work on how to get kids interested and engaged in the lesson," says the superintendent.
Second, it was about improving reading. A lot of that was done through implementing "pre-reading" strategies.
"We wanted to make sure kids understood what they were reading and could take that information and translate it into academic achievement," says Urquhart.
Next, the high school focused on challenging high achievers by increasing the number of Advanced Placement courses available.
Fourth, Waverly High School opted for co-taught courses in common core classes like math or science.
But, Urquhart says there's one factor that makes these four changes possible: enthusiastic teachers.
"Teacher effort is an overall umbrella," says Urquhart. "Nothing works well unless teachers are out there plugging to make sure it happens."
After this good news, the district plans to celebrate and continue their efforts.
Winans Elementary was awarded "reward" status by the state. Overall, the district received a "yellow" ranking, placing them right in the middle.