Almost 74,400 students earned diplomas from Indiana high schools in 2019, but that wasn't enough to boost the state's graduation rate, the Indiana Department of Education announced Tuesday.
The graduation rate fell to 87.3% in 2019 from 88.1% in 2018. That includes some students who are given a waiver under state law.
Locally, most high schools in Allen County outpaced the state. Only five schools fell short -- one in East Allen County Schools, three in Fort Wayne Community Schools and Horizon Christian Academy.
“Every day, school administrators and classroom teachers across our state dedicate themselves to academically preparing our students for success,” state Superintendent Jennifer McCormick said in a statement.
“There is still work to be done,” she continued, “and the department will continue to commit its resources to local districts, working together to ensure our children graduate prepared for life beyond high school.”
Four schools in northeast Indiana had perfect graduation rates: East Allen University in EACS, Blackhawk Christian in Allen County, Lakewood Park Christian in DeKalb County and Hamilton Community in Steuben County.
While FWCS wants to ensure all its students graduate, spokeswoman Krista Stockman said that's an unfeasible goal for the nearly 30,000-student district.
“Because of our student population, we know that we are never going to have 100%,” Stockman said.
Some students will take five years to graduate regardless of how hard they work and how much teachers work with them, she said.
“We are proud of them for doing that,” Stockman added.
Districtwide, FWCS' graduation rate for 2019 was 85.8%, down from 86.4%.
Northrop had the most drastic change, dropping from 91.3% to 80.9%. Stockman couldn't immediately explain the cause, but she credited Wayne's improvement – 90% to 93.8% – to the new graduation pathways that take effect with the class of 2023.
Until then, students may use the pathways to graduate if they don't meet the traditional requirements, such as passing the state's standardized test, Stockman said. Wayne's principal is a strong advocate about using the pathways to students' advantage, she added.
A glitch with the pathways did, however, cause concern at South Side, Stockman said. A “very small group of students” believed they had met the qualifications to graduate under the pathways but didn't, she said, noting they had to complete work after commencement.
South Side's graduation rate dipped from 81% to 80%. Snider also fell, from 92.4% to 91.7%. North Side increased from 75.8% to 83.6%.
The districtwide rate for EACS improved to 90.3% from 88%. East Allen University's perfect score was followed by Leo, 94.1%; Woodlan, 91.8%; Heritage, 89.7% and New Haven, 84.3%.
Both Northwest Allen County and Southwest Allen County schools – which each have one high school – had graduation rates in the mid-90s. NACS remained relatively flat at 96.1%, and SACS dropped from 96% to 94.6%.
SACS is proud of Homestead's graduation rates, Principal Park Ginder said in a statement.
“Preparing students for a successful future certainly does not end with a high school diploma; however, it is a critical first step,” Ginder said. “These numbers are a reflection of SACS' students, staff and our community's commitment to education and our partnership to prepare today's learners for tomorrow's opportunities.”
Chris Himsel, superintendent of NACS, also provided a statement.
“NACS is committed to helping each child in our district acquire the knowledge and develop the skills necessary to become a leading member of our community,” Himsel said. “It's a 13-year journey to earn a diploma. We are proud of the efforts of our students and the educators who are committed to helping them achieve. We are blessed to serve so many families willing to support and partner with our educators so our community's children are prepared for achieving in life rather than on tests.”
The Department of Education also released the federal graduation rate, which uses different accountability calculations. Indiana's federal graduation rate was 86.5%.
Area graduation rates (percentage)
District School 2018 2019
Adams Central Community Schools Adams Central HS 95.3 99.0
North Adams Community Schools Bellmont Senior HS 95.8 92.5
South Adams Schools South Adams HS 91.6 86.3
East Allen County Schools East Allen University 97.0 100.0
East Allen County Schools Heritage Junior-Senior HS 92.3 89.7
East Allen County Schools Leo Junior-Senior HS 92.7 94.1
East Allen County Schools New Haven Junior-Senior HS 78.7 84.3
East Allen County Schools Woodlan Junior-Senior HS 91.0 91.8
Fort Wayne Community Schools North Side HS 75.8 83.6
Fort Wayne Community Schools Northrop HS 91.3 80.9
Fort Wayne Community Schools Snider HS 92.4 91.7
Fort Wayne Community Schools South Side HS 81.0 80.0
Fort Wayne Community Schools Wayne HS 90.0 93.8
MSD Southwest Allen County Schools Homestead HS 96.0 94.6
Northwest Allen County Schools Carroll HS 96.3 96.1
Private Bishop Dwenger HS 100.0 99.6
Private Bishop Luers HS 96.9 91.0
Private Blackhawk Christian Middle/High 100.0 100.0
Private Concordia Lutheran HS 98.9 98.3
Private Cornerstone College Prep 90.0 90.0
Private Horizon Christian Academy 76.5 80.0
DeKalb County Central United Sch Dist DeKalb HS 88.4 85.5
DeKalb County Eastern Com Sch Dist Eastside Junior-Senior HS 93.9 96.7
Garrett-Keyser-Butler Com Sch Corp. Garrett HS 91.2 93.4
Private Lakewood Park Christian 100.0 100.0
Huntington Co. Community Sch Corp. Huntington North HS 95.4 94.6
Tippecanoe Valley School Corp. Tippecanoe Valley HS 95.9 87.9
Warsaw Community Schools Warsaw Community HS 92.3 95.5
Wawasee Community School Corp. Wawasee HS 92.2 91.0
Whitko Community School Corp. Whitko Junior-Senior HS 83.9 88.9
Private Lakeland Christian Academy 87.9 84.6
Private Pierceton Woods Academy N/A 21.4
Central Noble Com School Corp. Central Noble Junior-Senior HS 88.2 90.1
East Noble School Corp. East Noble HS 94.0 88.6
West Noble School Corp. West Noble HS 84.5 91.5
Fremont Community Schools Fremont HS 85.9 88.2
Hamilton Community Schools Hamilton Community HS 95.2 100.0
MSD Steuben County Angola HS 88.7 80.2
MSD Bluffton-Harrison Bluffton HS 97.9 98.1
Northern Wells Community Schools Norwell HS 96.1 93.6
Southern Wells Community Schools Southern Wells Junior-Senior HS 100.0 97.0
Smith-Green Community Schools Churubusco Junior-Senior HS 90.8 94.3
Whitley County Consolidated Schools Columbia City HS 95.0 86.6
Private T.R.O.Y. Center 70.0 27.3