More than 280 schools in Michigan have been designated as reward schools for either high student achievement or making tremendous progress in student achievement, according to the state education department. The new report cards reward the best schools but warns those at the bottom they could be forced into a new achievement authority unless they show improvement. Reward schools is one of three new school designations that came as the result of Michigan receiving flexibility to the federal no child left behind (NCLB) act from the U.S. Department of Education. The new categories are: reward schools, focus schools or priority schools, with priority schools being the worst performers in terms of preparing students for post high school education. Schools include the top five percent of schools on the annual top-to-bottom ranking of all Michigan schools, and the top five percent of schools making the greatest academic progress over the previous four years. The 286 reward schools are located in 178 different school districts across the state. Schools that will be identified later this fall as "beating the odds" schools also will be deemed reward schools. Reward schools in St. Clair County include Palms Elementary School, Gardens Elementary School, Fair Haven Elementary School and Marine City High School.