By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Madison County Schools showed mostly positive gains in the number of high school graduates in 2012, according to the Indiana Department of Education.
Anderson Community Schools led the way with a nearly 15 percentage point increases in graduation rates from 2011 to 2012.
In the four years covered in the Department’s rankings released on Monday, Anderson’s graduation rate increased from a low of 59.6 percent in 2010 (2009 was slightly higher) to 85.4 percent last year.
Superintendent Felix Chow declined Monday to talk about the marked increase in graduation rates for the reporting period because he had not yet seen the data.
Other Madison County were eager to tout their success, however.
Elwood Community High School posted a graduation rate of 92.9 percent in 2012, up from 89.4 percent in 2011.
“I think it’s good positive news, but anything short of 100 percent is not what you hope for,” said Principal David Retherford. “We certainly want that number to go up every year.”
When told of numbers reported at other schools, Retherford said it seems as though Madison County schools as a whole are doing a better job of helping students successfully complete high schools.
Alexandria-Monroe High School graduated 94.4 percent of its students in 2012, the highest rate of all schools in the county.
“I would say that with all the variables that exist, at Alexandria we continue to look at what sliver of this education piece we can tackle each year ... and get it to a masterful level,” said Superintendent Alice Johnson.
She said educators are doing everything they can do to keep students in school, whether it’s through alternative education programs for students who might be troubled, or doing a better job of engaging highly able students with advanced class offerings.
“We’re trying to go from good to great, and that takes a real effort,” Johnson said.
At Frankton-Lapel Community Schools, an unaccountable drop in the graduation rate at Frankton Junior-Senior High school brought down the district’s graduation rate as a whole, said Superintendent Bobby Fields.
“There are always those kids that are difficult to reach,” Fields said. “You just have to try and make sure that kids are staying on track from day one.”
Sometimes students leave the system but don’t enroll elsewhere, which counts against the school corporation, Fields said.
Other students graduate with a certificate instead of a standard diploma, which can also count against a school corporation’s overall graduation rate, he added.
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