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The Scoop

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Verbatim: 2 area schools in graduation top 10

Statement issued Tuesday:

Today, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) released the non-waiver graduation rates for Indiana public high schools. The 2010 non-waiver public school graduation rate was 78.1 percent, up from 75.6 percent for the class of 2009, and accounts for students who received diplomas without receiving waivers. The non-waiver rate excludes those graduates who received diplomas with waivers and have not met the basic expectation that each student passes the state’s Graduation Examination and graduates with a Core 40 diploma. This rate will be used to determine the winners of the Graduation Rate Performance Program.

The ten public high schools achieving the best non-waiver graduation rates are the following:

Barr-Reeve Community Schools Inc.

Barr Reeve Junior-Senior High School

100.0

Signature School Inc.

Signature School

100.0

Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities

Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities

99.2

Orleans Community Schools

Orleans Junior-Senior High School

98.6

East Porter County School Corporation

Morgan Township Middle/High School

98.1

Zionsville Community Schools

Zionsville Community High School

98.0

Liberty-Perry Community School Corporation

Wapahani High School

97.5

Adams Central Community Schools

Adams Central High School

96.7

Plainfield Community School Corporation

Plainfield High School

96.7

East Allen County Schools

Leo Junior/Senior High School

96.5

“Since I took office, I have stood firmly by our goal of having at least 90 percent of Hoosier students graduate with meaningful high school diplomas,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett said. “I congratulate these high-achieving Indiana high schools for preparing their students for the rigors of college and careers. I hope educators across the state look to those schools achieving high non-waiver graduation rates as examples, and I encourage them to contact their peers in other districts to learn from their successes.”

Last month, the IDOE released statutory graduation rates which showed improvement across the state with 84.1percent of students in the 2010 cohort (students who first entered Grade 9 in fall 2006) graduating high school in four years or less. The IDOE is required to calculate the statutory graduation rate for the state and for individual schools. This rate counts all students who receive diplomas as graduates, whether they received waivers or not.

A student can receive a graduation waiver in one of three ways: 1) by successfully completing Core 40 coursework; 2) by demonstrating to the satisfaction of the high school that he/she has met the achievement standard measured by the Graduation Examination through other means; or 3) by completing an internship and a workforce readiness assessment. A total of 4,443 students from the class of 2010 received a waiver to graduate at one of Indiana’s public high schools, compared to 4,421 for last year’s graduating class.

The graduation waiver was created to protect students who didn’t “test well” in high school. While many students earn worthwhile diplomas via waiver, the IDOE worries some schools may be taking advantage of loopholes in the system that may allow schools to loosely grant waivers and allow schools to achieve more favorable graduation results. Dr. Bennett said it is also time the state takes a solid look at the number of students counted as “mobile” at the end of each academic year.

“While we believe the vast majority of Indiana’s schools are doing the right thing, we fear some schools may be issuing waivers for students that aren’t quite ready to graduate and even counseling students out of traditional public schools and into ‘homeschool’ where the students then become untraceable,” Bennett said. “We are doing these students no favors and must reexamine this process. Homeschool is an excellent choice for some students, and such a decision should be made with each individual student’s needs in mind. However, if a student is reported as having transferred to a homeschool program, that student should, in fact, be participating in a legitimate program.”

For more information on Indiana’s non-waiver graduation rate (including data for local high schools), visit www.doe.in.gov/gradrate.

ABOUT THE GRADUATION RATE PERFORMANCE PROGRAM

The Graduation Rate Performance Program rewards the 12 schools with the highest increase in the non-waiver graduation rate from last year to this year. These schools have already been identified, but each must go through a formal audit process before the monetary awards are given out.

Besides the top 12 schools, Indiana code states that audits for the graduation rate are triggered by a five percent variance between the actual graduation rate and the estimated graduation rate (graduates divided by the enrollment four years earlier). The audit process has already begun and results for the Graduation Rate Performance Program will be formally announced later this year.

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