"Research says you can't turn a district around in probably less than five to eight years. You know we're on a shorter timeline, i'm on a three year mission."
Lansing Schools Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul
Lansing School District's superintendent says 2012 MEAP scores is a sign students are making progress. The average math proficiency rate from 3rd to 8th grade is 17%, reading is 46%. Both categories improved by 2% compared to 2011.
"In comparison to districts like Lansing, we're actually the top of the list," said Lansing School District Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul.
The statewide average is also showing improvement. There's an average 3% increase across the grades with math proficiency at 40%, reading proficiency at 67%.
"We've implemented rigorous content standard, essentially the statement saying what students should know and be able to do at the end of the grade," said Joseph Martineau, executive director of the Bureau of Assessment and Accountability at the Michigan Department of Education.
Compared to the state's average, Lansing schools still have a long way to go. The superintendent says reconfiguration and setting specific academic goals for each grade is just the beginning. The district is also working to start summer school this August to prepare students for MEAP.
"I not only expect to be pushing the state numbers, my expectation is that there's no reason why wouldn't be able to exceed those number," said Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul.
Afterall, being at the bottom may not be an option. The lowest achieving 5% of schools are placed under the direction of a state school reform officer.
"They have to design a reform plan, they have to carry out that plan...If they're not improving over time, say three years, then the state school reform officer could place them in the Education Achievement Authority," said Martineau.
Getting placed in the EAA means the district would lose control of the school to the state and Lansing's superintendent says there's no greater punishment than that.