A common theme among Dexter students and faculty is that we are the best around. Throughout the halls, especially the week of a game, students comment on how much better of a school we are than Chelsea. But according to the state rankings by Niche, this is not the truth.
The current Niche rankings for the 720 public schools in Michigan list Chelsea at number 26 and Dexter at 41.
Niche is a research organization based in Pittsburgh that focuses on providing comprehensive reports on colleges, schools, neighborhoods, and districts across the country. They boast a whopping total of 50 million users last year on their website.
Each school receives a “report card” with grades in 10 different categories - academics, teachers, clubs and activities, administration, food, diversity, college prep, health and safety, sports, and resources and facilities. Niche collects data on all of these from the US Department of Education, Common Core Data, parent and student surveys, the National Center for Education Statistics, SAT/ACT scores, graduation rates, state testing data, and more.
They then give the school a grade for each category ranging from A+ to D- before giving the school an overall grade on the same scale.
For the upcoming 2019 school year, Dexter received an A. This grade consisted of an A in academics, A- in teachers, B+ in clubs and activities, B in administration, B+ in food, C in diversity, A in college prep, A in health and safety, A in sports, and a C+ in resources and facilities.
After compiling the grades for each school, they are ranked in comparison to all of the other schools in the state. Niche also provides data for rankings within individual counties, cities, and urban areas.
In Washtenaw County, Dexter was ranked ninth out of 19 total graded schools behind Ann Arbor Huron, Washtenaw International, Ann Arbor Pioneer, Saline, Ann Arbor Skyline, Ann Arbor Community, Washtenaw Technical Middle College, and Chelsea.
Although this may be surprising to many students and citizens, Dexter is in a noted competitive county and it still received an ‘A’ overall rating.
However, Niche is not the only organization that provides ranking services. Dexter High School was also ranked by USA Today. In USA Today’s evaluation, which is similar to Niche’s, DHS was No. 40 in Michigan and 1,244 in the United States.
The main purpose of these rankings, according to Niche, is to assist parents in selecting a school or district for their children when they first move to a new area.
“Those rankings don’t determine anything within the school,” Principal Kit Moran said, “They are mostly for parents.”
The state of Michigan does their own assessment of all the schools and districts, but this does not affect state funding.
“The state only uses per-pupil funding,” Moran said. “Rankings have nothing to do with funding unless you’re really really bad, and even then they wouldn’t necessarily cut your funding; they would normally send in their own people to tell you what to fix.”
Overall, the main purpose of Niche’s rankings is to aid parents and give you more information about your school and area.
Poker chips are used to represent the different school rankings discussed in this article.