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      Local schools named Academic State Champs 2012

      Three area school districts ranked in the Top 10 and were named Academic State Champions 2012 by Bridge Magazine.

      Crawford AuSable Schools ranked 4th, Mason County Eastern Schools ranked 6th and Kingsley area schools ranked 7th.

      "It comes down to making sure that we have the adequate resources to educate our kids and it's great to see that we get the recognition for these types of things," said Dr. Keith Smith, Superintendent of Kingsley Area Schools. "But at the same token as we do cut programs and things back it does make me very concerned that we won't be able to maintain the level we have."

      The Top 10 list includes "value added" schools of all grades. Bridge Magazine collaborated with the Lansing-based research firm of Public Sector Consultants to create a ranking system that measures a school's test scores adjusted for student family income. According to Bridge Magazine this is often a predictor of academic achievement.

      According to the analysis, A Value-Added Matrix or VAM score of 100 indicates students are achieving at expected levels for their income level. The higher a school's score, the better their students are performing on standardized tests.

      Kingsley scored 113 in the analysis.

      "What that says is again our teachers do a phenomenal job teaching kids that would be more at risk," Smith said.

      Jamie Hawkins, a fifth-grade teacher at Kingsley said he was excited when he heard the news about Kingsley's rankings.

      "It's validation for a lot of hard work paying off for myself and my co-workers," Hawkins said. "We put in a lot of hours working together to do what's best for kids."

      Superintendent Smith was pleased when he heard the news but worries about what it could mean for the school's funding in the future.

      "I think the danger of getting terribly excited about this is, again, we've done very well, Kingsley traditionally does very well," Smith said. "But at the same token I don't want people to look around and say, 'Well if this is what Kingsley's been able to accomplish then that's all that you need.'"

      Fifty-two school districts and charter schools across the state were named 2012 Academic State Champs.

      Area School Ranking:

      Crawford AuSable Schools:

      VMA: 115.10

      Percentage of students Free and Reduced Lunch Eligible: 63.23%

      Mason County Eastern Schools:

      VMA: 113.84

      Percentage of students Free and Reduced Lunch Eligible: 75.98%

      Kingsley Area Schools:

      VMA: 113.53

      Percentage of students Free and Reduced Lunch Eligible: 54.65%

      You can view the full list of school rankings HERE.