West Iron hailed


Staff Writer

IRON RIVER – West Iron County Public Schools in Iron River is one of only three school districts in the Upper Peninsula to be named to Bridge Magazine’s annual Academic State Champions list for the 2011-12 school year.

Public and charter schools across Michigan were ranked on a value-added matrix (VAM) system for standardized test scores in grades four, eight, and 11. A VAM number of 100 indicates that students are achieving on these tests as expected for their income level.

West Iron posted VAM numbers above 100 for the eighth and 11th grades.

As a result, the school district’s overall VAM number was also above 100, and ranked 42nd among 560 public and charter schools in Michigan.

The top 52 schools were listed as Academic State Champions.

Other Upper Peninsula schools to make the list were Calumet Public Schools, which ranked 18th overall, and Chassell Township Schools, which ranked 30th overall.

“This type of recognition reflects strongly on the efforts our staff has made to improve our relationship with students, improve our teaching, and increase student achievement,” said West Iron Superintendent Chris Thomson. “We know there is still much work to be done, and we will continue to strive to get better, but this type of accolade supports that our efforts are on the right track and are being recognized.”

Stambaugh Elementary School Principal Michelle Thomson was also proud.

“Staff members have worked very hard at implementing a school-wide writing program and a more intense math program,” she said. “This is starting to show in our state results.”

To view the entire list of 560 schools, go to

Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is