A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

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Thirkell Elementary: A Detroit Public School Success Story

Part of a series on schools scoring highly on the Mackinac Center's 'Context and Performance' report card

Thirkell Elementary in Detroit.

Detroit Public Schools' Thirkell Elementary was the top-ranked school on the Mackinac Center for Public Policy's new elementary and middle school report card.

The Center's report card takes student poverty level into account to better examine school performance and is based on four years of student test scores.

Although nearly 90 percent of Thirkell students come from low-income backgrounds, Thirkell regularly posts higher than average scores on state MEAP tests. Adjusting for student background makes Thirkell's success even clearer.

Parents, teachers and students all say that the warm atmosphere and focus on student learning at Thirkell is due to the leadership from Clara Smith, the school's principal.

"She is a great leader," said Shailiaja Pritchett, a parent and school volunteer, "She demands excellence from everybody."

Indeed, Smith's office walls are covered with awards and photos. One wall is papered with thank you cards from parents and community members. 

Smith says that teachers and administrators focus on teaching students respect and discipline first, so that students are ready and willing to learn during class time.

To see how schools in your area measured, see the CAP report cards here: "Michigan School Databases."

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See also:

New Report Card Compares High School Test Scores and Adjusts For Economic Status

New Report Card Measures Elementary and Middle School Performance By Adjusting For Student Family Income

Top 10 Elementary and Middle Schools

Top 10 City Elementary and Middle Schools

Top 10 Rural Elementary and Middle Schools

Top 10 Town Elementary and Middle Schools

Top 10 Suburban Elementary and Middle Schools

Top 10 Conventional High Schools

Top 10 Charter High Schools