In battle of Meridian schools, Okemos High School tops Haslett counterpart

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By Chris Hung
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

Statistics show Okemos High School tops Haslett High School in state and national ranking, despite their proximity.

While the academic environment of Okemos High School outperforms Haslett High School, both schools remain better than both the state and national averages.

According to U.S. News, Okemos High School maintains its position as the 10th best high school in the state of Michigan, while being 494th in the country. Haslett High School ranks 38th in the state and 1,176th in the nation. Both schools fall under the jurisdiction of Meridian Township as public schools and are just over five miles apart from each other.

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Based upon the Michigan Merit Exam, 75 percent of Okemos High School students scored at least between proficient and advanced in the reading portion of the exam, with Haslett High School only slightly behind at 71 percent.

In the same exam, Okemos High School’s rating in math proficiency is 64 percent, compared to Haslett High School’s 55 percent average math proficiency.

U.S. News reports that Okemos High School’s college readiness index average is at 52.7. This index is calculated by student participation rate in Advanced Placement exams, and rate at which students pass in at least one of those exams. The highest college readiness index achievable on this scale is 100, with only 14 high schools in the country achieving this rating in 2015.

“We want to give our students as much college experience at the high school level as possible,” said Haslett High School principal, Bart Wegenke.

Despite the administration’s focus on AP courses, Haslett High School scored 36.3 in their average college readiness index. This score is 16.4 points below the Okemos school’s average.

Okemos High School was awarded a gold rating from U.S. News, awarded to the top 500 schools in the country. Haslett High School was awarded a silver rating. These awards are assigned based on their college readiness scores.

According to another source, a review website called Niche, Okemos has ranked the fifth-best high school in Michigan at the start of 2016. Haslett High School is ranked at 52nd in the state on the same list.

On this list, both high schools score very high in graduation rate, 94 percent and 95 percent respectively for the Okemos and Haslett schools. The graduation rates are superior to the national average at 82.2 percent and the Michigan average graduation rate at 79 percent.

“The teachers are phenomenal,” said Emily Kochan, a student who graduated from Okemos High School in 2014. “They push students to excel in their school work, they are excited to teach interesting and different ways.  Some teachers also would make personal connections with their students and there was a good peer atmosphere in encouraging others to do well in their courses.”

The Okemos school’s student body consists of roughly 1,300 every year. Of those, 27 percent are of a minority group. On average, there are 18 students to on teacher in each class. The Haslett school has just about 900 students yearly, with only a 13 percent minority enrollment by comparison and an average of 22 students to a teacher.

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