SJ schools rank 19th in Michigan

The St. Joseph Public Schools Administration building is pictured March 15, 2018.

ST. JOSEPH — St. Joseph Public Schools are considered the 19th best school district in Michigan this year, according to a school ranking website.

Niche, a website that releases an annual ranking of school districts and universities, gave St. Joseph a favorable school compared to more than 500 other Michigan districts.

“It’s an affirmation of all the hard work everyone is putting in to make sure our kids are learning,” said Kelly Gaideski, curriculum director for St. Joseph.

Ranked as the 19th best school district in Michigan, St. Joseph Public Schools was given an overall A grade. The district is comprised of five schools and has an enrollment of 2,930 students.

This was an improvement as St. Joseph was ranked 22nd by Niche last year.

The next closest Berrien County school in the ranking was Lakeshore School District, which achieved an A- grade as the 41st best district.

Bridgman Public Schools was the third highest ranked school in the county at No. 47. New Buffalo ranked 56th.

Van Buren Intermediate School District ranked 50th. Mattawan schools, 54th, was the only individual Van Buren district to make the top 100.

Niche bases its rankings on several factors, including achievement on state (M-STEP) and SAT tests, college readiness, teacher quality, facilities, student and parent perception and student opportunities.

The release of Michigan High School SAT results also has St. Joseph High School ranked No. 43 out of all Michigan public high schools based on highest SAT averages.

While the state saw a decline in average SAT scores, St. Joseph High School increased by 10 points over last year’s average.  

According to Gaideski, St. Joseph’s average SAT score was 1119.7 in 2018.

“We want to keep growing. There’s always things we can be better at,” Gaideski said. “We’d love to keep moving up that ladder. It was nice to see we are improving (the SAT scores). We do well in the county, but we try to compare ourselves to similar schools in the state.”

Academic grades go a long way in determining Niche’s overall grade. According to Niche’s website, 50 percent of the grade is based on a district’s academics.

Teachers account for 15 percent, culture and diversity have a 10 percent grade and surveys from parents and students carry 10 percent in the final grade as well.

In addition to grades and surveys, the remaining portion is determined by health and safety, resources, facilities, clubs and sports.

Ranked 19th overall in the state, St. Joseph was also surveyed as the 24th best place to teach in Michigan and the 23rd best district when it came to the teachers available.

“This recognition of our hard-working staff and awesome students is a testament to the high levels of learning and support we have at St. Joseph Public Schools,” Superintendent Ann Cardon said in a prepared statement.

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