Niles fares well in state rankings

Published 3:46 am Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Niles Daily Star

Despite a projected drop in enrollment for the school year, Niles Community Schools Superintendent Richard Weigel said the district continues to show achievement above more than half of schools in the state.

The Michigan Public School Top to Bottom Rankings, released earlier this year, ranks schools based on mathematics, English language, arts achievement and improvement.

That’s good news for the district, and news Weigel hopes to spread to parents of students and prospective students.

“We have to continue to help people understand how good we are and how good we’re going to continue to be,” he said during Monday night’s meeting of the Niles Community Schools Board of Education.

Howard Elementary ranked better than 66.3 percent of schools; Ballard Elementary, 60.3 percent; Oak Manor Sixth Grade Center, 51.1 percent; Ring Lardner Middle School, 86.9 percent; and Niles Senior High, 69.2 percent.

Projected enrollment for the current school year is 3,775 students, Weigel said. That is down, he added, from the 3,900 students budgeted for prior to the start of the year.

Board president Dana Daniels questioned the reasons for the drop — and whether or not they are of an academic nature.

“I believe the reason we lost students was based on what I am going to call service to the community,” Weigel said. Talking to parents and hearing their concerns and needs, Weigel said he believes it is important for the district to become “more service minded” to those parents.

The Top to Bottom rankings, he said, were examples of the district’s academic success.

Something he hopes to add to that success is the implementation of a New Tech high school.

School officials and board members are planning their first trip to tour a New Tech school in Danville, Ill., tomorrow.

“It’s something you really have to see to understand,” Weigel said.