By: Benjamin Gohs, Associate Editor
Concord Academy Boyne has been named a high-ranking school in the Michigan Department of Education’s “Top to Bottom” report. According to the report, Concord is in the top 9 percent of all public schools in Michigan and in the top 4 percent of charter schools in the state. “We’re very excited,” said Karen Kubovchick, Concord Academy Boyne’s Curriculum Coordinator. “It means our teachers are doing an excellent job and it means keeping our classrooms small and the teachers being very committed is producing good results.”
The results of the state rankings come from four years of the department of education monitoring student achievement. “As a public school we do not charge tuition, but we do not belong to a teacher’s union so we have the freedom to put our students first,” Kubovichick said. “We like to say that we don’t have a teacher’s union, we have a students’ union.”
According to state education officials, the Top-to-Bottom ranking list was developed using student testing data for math and reading on the MEAP and Michigan Merit Exam from the 2006-07 through 2009-10 school years. Kubovchick credits dedicated teachers, involved parents and small class size to the school’s continued success. “Our teachers come here because of their dedication to their profession,” she said. “This isn’t just a job to them, it goes beyond that. They have just a one-year contract and they know they have to perform. They’re willing to do that because they know they have input on the whole organization.”
Kubovchick added, “We don’t do top down structure, we use teamwork instead. They are also willing to have less pay in order to teach fewer children in their classrooms because they know they can be more successful (with smaller class size.)”
Despite the school’s success, Kubovchick said, she would like to see more fairness in the way charter schools are funded in light of a new grant which will give over $300 million to traditional public schools but no funding to public charter schools. “We are one of the oldest charter schools in the state and the competition has been good for all the schools,” she said. “We know there are a lot of really good teachers at (traditional) public schools, but we think schools should be structured differently.” She added, “If we were to get some of that money we would be able to sit down with the teachers and distribute it according to what we felt the needs were of the students. To us this just looks like a direct gift from the government to the teachers unions.”
Concord Boyne’s staff and students spell out “Top 9% CAB” on the front lawn of the school in celebration of their top 9% ranking of ALL public school’s in Michigan and top 4% for Charter schools
according to the MDE’s Top to Bottom report.