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Graduation rates continuing to rise

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Recently the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) released the graduation rates and Clay Community School Corporation (CCSC) was above the state average for the 2008-09 school year.

"The corporation achieved 83 percent versus the 81.5 percent for the state overall," Assistant Supt. of Curriculum Kim Tucker said. "Clay City Jr./Sr. High School achieved 94.8 percent and Northview High School achieved 80.9 percent, which is greatly improved from previous years."

Northview High School Principal Tim Rayle explained since 2006, the graduation rate has risen more than 7 percent from 73.7 percent to 80.9 percent.

"During this same time period, we have had a decrease in the number of actual dropouts from 43 dropouts in 2006 to 15 dropouts in 2009," he said. "Our administrators, teachers, students and community members should take great pride in the fact that more students than ever are graduating from (Northview)."

Clay City has also seen their graduation rate rise more than 7.5 percent since 2006 with an 87.2 percent to 94.8 percent with a 6.9 percent jump from 2007-09 academic school years.

"I am very pleased with the hard work of the faculty and staff," Principal Jeff Bell said. "This is a pretty substantial number increase, which speaks of the hard work of the students, parents and faculty."

Tucker believes some of the factors contributing to the increase in graduation rates include heightened public awareness concerning the necessity of a high school diploma.

"Parents and the community are working with school officials to keep students in school," she said.

"We are such a small school that a few students can really make a big difference," Bell added. "The faculty and staff have really been working at giving the students that extra individual attention."

According the IDOE website, during the 2008-09 academic school year there were a total of 269 graduates from CCSC with 76 achieving an honor diploma, 146 core 40 diploma and 47 regular high school diplomas.

"Part of the increase in our number of graduates and decrease in dropouts can be attributed to our commitment to providing educational opportunities for students who have not been successful in the traditional classroom," Rayle said

Both principals and Tucker credit the Cumberland Academy staff and Principal Lisa Showalter for providing educational opportunities in an environment where students from Northview and Clay City can be successful.

"Cumberland provides many students the opportunity to finish their high school education when they have not been successful in the traditional school setting," Tucker said.

NovaNet, which is offered at both high schools and Cumberland, is also credited with having an impact with students who are able to recover credits and stay on track for graduation.

Tucker also commented on a new program at Northview called Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG), which provides tutoring, post-secondary counseling and job training.

The Court Ordered Placement for Education (C.O.P.E.) Program is also having a dramatic impact by allowing students to complete daily studies.

"C.O.P.E., is having a very positive impact on the attendance and academics," Tucker said. "The program allows students to complete their homework and receive instructional assistance while serving their suspension."

Another program implemented at both high schools is READ 180.

"It is an accelerated reading program for students who require extra instructional resources to raise their achievement in language arts and reading," she said.

Tucker believes dual credit courses, which are being added each school year to help engage students and make it easier to academically and financially transition to post-secondary institutions.

"The administration and faculty within (CCSC) is continuously studying those issues which may lead to students dropping out of school including truancy, failing grades, poor achievement, lack of engagement or interest in school studies," she said. "We appreciate and encourage the cooperation of the community to help us ensure that all students stay in school and receive a quality education."

With the extra programs and continued significance of graduation being imparted upon the students both principals are determined to have their schools reach 100 percent.

"We are very pleased to see a steady increase in our graduation rate, however, we are far from satisfied," Rayle said. "In a short period of time, we have greatly increased the number of students who are graduating. We still have a lot of work to do, but we are making steady progress."

"We are striving for 100 percent," Bell added. "We are very happy with the number very proud of the number but we will continue to work at having 100 percent graduation rate."


By the numbers

The following tables outline graduation rates from the 2005-06 through 2008-09 school years for Northview and Clay City High Schools, along with comparing the state average to that for the Clay Community School Corporation (CCSC).

YearNorthview High SchoolClay City High School
2008-0980.9 percent94.8 percent
2007-0880.4 percent87.9 percent
2006-0773.7 percent87.2 percent
2005-0675.1 percent77.1 percent
YearState AverageCCSC
2008-0981.5 percent83 percent
2007-0877.8 percent81.6 percent
2006-0776.4 percent76.8 percent
2005-0676.5 percent75.2 percent


Comments
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Although I did not attend any Clay County Schools, I was fortunate enough to complete my student teaching experience at Northview in Spring 1990. Since then, I have taught high school academics in two other states, and returned to Indiana to teach Adult Literacy. I can attest that Northview has one of the finest academic programs, as well as an overall positive and safe environment in which to learn. We are so very fortunate to have such an opportunity for the students of our community.

-- Posted by Claycountian on Wed, Jan 20, 2010, at 2:10 AM

A note on how graduation rates are figured. Our numbers are indeed higher than the state average, but may not truly reflect the amount of effort invested by and accomplishment that our schools, faculties, and students have achieved.

The main thing that would detract from our statistics is what I call "the hot potato". That is the student that transfers in, then drops out. The last school that the student is enrolled, basically, gets the blame.

The numbers are good for reference, but never really tell all of the story.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Wed, Jan 20, 2010, at 8:24 AM

Ours teachers, students, and partents get some good news and all you can post about is how the hot potato is the transfer issue. Can we at least acknowledge the positive. LESS KIDS ARE QUITTING SCHOOL!

-- Posted by Partrosie on Wed, Jan 20, 2010, at 12:23 PM

Although I am glad to see the drop-out numbers reduce and the graduation numbers increase I was surprised that through the entire article no mention was made of the law changes regarding dropping out. In Indiana a child now has to be 18, which makes them an adult, to officially drop out. Unless they have another means to transfer "home-school" then by state law they are now required to attend school until their 18th birthday. With this law it requires much of the staff & administrations of many districts to work with troubled youth.

-- Posted by Lacey62 on Wed, Jan 20, 2010, at 2:10 PM

Partrosie - What I noted in my post was the fact that there existed a condition that affects the graduation rate in a negative manner over which our schools have no control and no impact. I noted this several years ago in a presentation by Mr. Rayle and Mr. Bell on how the graduation rate was calculated. That does not in any way detract from the fact that our numbers are up and the reason that they are up is due to a lot of hard work.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Thu, Jan 21, 2010, at 8:06 AM

Lacey62 - I just went back into IC 20-33-2 on compulsory school attendance. The provision that a student can withdraw before age 18 with an exit interview and permission from both a parent and the school principal appears to still be in force.

Even with a change in the law by the General Assembly during the 2009 sessions, that would not affect the numbers for the 2008-2009 school year greatly. All of the Public Laws affecting IC 20-33-2 (Compulsory School Attendance) went into effect after April 30 of 2009.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Thu, Jan 21, 2010, at 8:18 AM

Congratulations CCSC, parents, students, and teachers.....well done!! Continue the rising graduation trend with our young people. They indeed, are our future!

-- Posted by Proud of My Country on Thu, Jan 21, 2010, at 11:45 AM

Sorry Leo, I took it the wrong way!

-- Posted by Partrosie on Thu, Jan 21, 2010, at 12:05 PM

Did anyone notice that Clay City's graduation percentages were always higher than that of Northview? I graduated from Northview and I know from personal experience how you can get lost and just not excel at that school from not having the right name or participating in the right sport, or parents who didn't contribute monetarily, you were basically just a figure there.

NOW i know things have changed there, but there's something to be said about small schools. My sister graduated from a small school and loved it and is thriving and doing pretty well. (that was before Northview came into existance when it was Staunton, Brazil, Van Buren). however I went to Northview/North Clay and my experience was WAY different than hers. She participated in many things because she had that opportunity. At Northview I could not the numbers were against me not even allowing me the opportunity to even improve or could even afford.

My children now attend Clay City, they are thriving and excelling beyond any expectation that I have. All 3 are honor students and participating in everything from all sports teams to every club there. When I was at Northview with the size of it's classes, no matter how much you wanted to participate you just couldn't because the numbers outruled you. I could only participate in groups where numbers didn't count. But I would have loved to played basketball, tennis, softball, but when they only take a certain number like 12 and 80 kids try out being so-so or mediocre it's just not good enough. You just fade into the background.

Northview has it's great things, but I feel Clay city has even better. It's more personable and the staff is there to help no questions asked from the principle to the janitor, they are all watching out. If I have a concern and call the school they know you by 1st name, they tell you when your kid is acting up, and if there's a tragedy or sickness they stay in touch and offer any help they can. Even going as far as providing transportation for your kids when you can't.

At Northview you're lucky if they know your name at least that is what it was when I was there. Went back to an event at the school a year after graduation and I had a teacher argue with me that I didn't even attended the school, I was in his econ class and his History class andhe was my homeroom teacher...

Great that all the numbers are rising, but once I would just like people to give Clay City the props that they deserve. In this county it's always about what Northview has achieved whether in sports or whatever and they only want to put Clay City there when something goes wrong. Clay City HS works hard with all their kids not just a chosen few.

Here's a little fact...did you know that as of Dec of 2009 almost 1/2 of clay city's 2010 graduating class has been accepted to a 4 year college and many with scholarships to boot. How do I know this...because one of my children is one of them! That's pretty amazing! I don't mean to be putting down Northview, but I just wanted to point out an obvious...several times Northview fell below the state's level, but Clay City was always above it. Congrats to both, I don't mean to anger anyone, just stating my opinion....sometimes bigger isn't always better.

-- Posted by cheeziette on Thu, Jan 21, 2010, at 1:29 PM


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