Graduation Rate on the Rise | Families
Some good news from Spokane Public Schools - the number of students graduating on time grew substantially from 2009 to 2010. Not surprisingly, the dropout rate is falling, too, from 28 percent in 2009 to under 20 percent last year. Check out the news release from the school district for all the details:
Thanks to more specialized programs and better tracking of students, Spokane Public Schools is pleased to announce that its on-time graduation rate has increased to 70 percent and the extended rate (for students who stay for one or more extra semesters) is 73 percent. Compared to 2008-09, some high schools saw jumps as high as 10 percent, with Shadle Park’s 90 percent extended graduation rate topping the list.
Consequently, the dropout rate for the district is now less than 20 percent, or one in five students. This is down significantly from last year’s rate of just over 28 percent. View the whole report from the state superintendent's office here.
While district officials know there is still much work to be done, these results are an indicator they take the dropout rate seriously. “Over the last few years our board has dedicated funds to intervention programs and to staffing for tracking and supporting students,” said Superintendent Nancy Stowell. “With nearly three out of four students from the class of 2010 graduating on time, we can see that our efforts are working.”
Started in early 2009, On Track Academy helps capable, motivated students catch up on credits. Last year about 90 students who otherwise might have dropped out of school graduated thanks to On Track.
Additionally, through the process of providing better follow-up on students who leave the district, staff last summer confirmed about 100 student transfers that were initially believed to be dropouts.
Programs such as those at Lewis and Clark and Rogers, where at-risk freshmen and sophomores stay together with the same group of teachers, have also helped keep students in school and will affect future graduation rates.
“This improvement was a direct result of a lot of hard work by the entire district,” said School Board President Sue Chapin. “It’s occurring at the same time we are keeping standards high and seeing more kids than ever successfully complete college-level classes while earning their diplomas.”
“We are thrilled with the improvement,” said Dr. Stowell. “Our district’s poverty presents us with difficult challenges but we are determined to graduate students at Rogers, North Central and Havermale, where over half of the students qualify for free or reduced meals, just as successfully as those in our higher income neighborhoods. Our goal continues to be a 100 percent on-time graduation rate across the district. We still have plenty of work to do, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.”