November 13, 2018

Charlotte High School Shows Success through Multiple Measures

Dr. Bill Barnes,
CHS, CEMC, CPSPS Principal

There is no doubt that schools are complex organizations with many pressures, both internal and external. Those inside the system, like the administrators, teachers, staff, board members, students, and parents, have goals and ideas about how the school should work, while those outside of the system, like alumni and community members, have goals for the school as well, often informed by their own past experiences, interactions with those currently working or learning in the school, or what they hear from others out in the community. Layered on top of these dynamics are the goals of the state department and legislature, who provide funding, set rules and regulations, and hold school districts accountable. With all of these ideas about what a school should be, it can be tough to determine how well a school is performing, because different people focus on different things, based on their perspectives. Regardless of one’s perspective, though, it is undeniable that multiple points of data show that Charlotte High School is in a mode of constant improvement, and it is currently experiencing high levels of success.

One measure of success is student achievement, which can be measured in multiple ways. In 2017-2018, for example, CHS students earned an astonishing 1362 college credits through dual enrollment, college courses offered on site, the career tech center through LCC and Eaton RESA, and Advanced Placement courses. That is nearly 800 more than were earned in 2014-2015! In addition, this year’s senior class gained 162 points from the PSAT 9 as freshmen to the SAT as juniors. The average growth across the state was only 133 points. And, while the state average on the SAT from 2017 to 2018 dropped by 7 points, CHS’s average remained the same.

However, although test scores and college credit is one measure of growth, they do not paint a complete picture of a school. How people feel about CHS is important to examine as well. In a recent parent survey, it was revealed that 80.1% of parents feel positive or very positive about CHS, only 2.99% feel negative about it, and 0.00% feel very negative. Similarly, 84.85% of parents feel positive or very positive about the administrators, 80.6% feel positive or very positive about the teachers, and 87.5% feel that way about the support staff. In addition, CHS is a Level 1 Marzano Research Laboratory High Reliability School, which means that based on student, staff, parent survey results, stakeholders feel that it is a safe, orderly, and collaborative environment, and there is ample evidence to support that opinion. At the end of the 2017-2018 school year, only seven schools in Michigan had achieved that distinction.

Extracurricular activities are important to consider, too, and CHS is strong in these areas. All anyone needs to do is attend a band or choir concert to understand the strength of the arts programs, as year in and year out the bands and choirs earn top ratings at festivals. CHS’s drum major, Ryan Klann, was chosen from nearly 800 of the country’s best high school drum majors to lead the Macy’s All Star Band in the Thanksgiving Day parade. When it comes to other clubs and organizations, CHS is succeeding as well, as Kirsten Langmaak was just crowned national dairy handling champion through the FFA. CHS also has strong athletics programs, as every fall, winter, and spring season, CHS athletes and teams compete for state championships in sports like cross country, bowling, cheerleading, track, golf, and wrestling. The Flight Club is recognized state wide and has served as a model for other schools to follow, and numerous service related clubs perform hundreds of hours of community service every year.

The work of a school is never done. There are always areas for improvement, areas of need, and methods for doing things in better ways to meet the needs of students. But, the measure of success of a school needs to be focused on its growth, and as the evidence points out, CHS is a high school on the rise. There are countless other small and large points of pride around CHS, and they are too numerous to name in one guest column. Yet, even based on these few examples, it is clear that academics, perceptions, and extracurricular activities are all trending in a positive direction, setting CHS apart as a scholastic leader in the area, county, and state.

Go Orioles! Oriole Pride!