News and Tribune

Education/Schools

May 21, 2014

Greater Clark passes graduation milestone

Superintendent wants the momentum to continue

JEFFERSONVILLE — While their overall rate exceeded 90 percent for 2013, more Greater Clark County Schools seniors are graduating without failing End-of-Course Assessments, according to a report at the district’s board meeting on Tuesday.

Andrew Melin, superintendent, said Greater Clark reached his graduation rate goal and surpassed the state average at 90.2 percent. But it’s the only district in Clark and Floyd counties with graduation waivers coming in single-digit percentages.

“When you see a graduation rate that’s over 90 percent and you’re seeing the waiver percentage below 10 percent, to me, that lends a lot of credibility to what we’re getting accomplished in terms of our graduates,” Melin said.

While he said he wants to see the rate continue to grow, he’s impressed with the numbers from last year. He said he hopes the trend continues, but the success is on the backs of teachers and building-level administrators.

“I think we can be very proud of all the work that goes into it,” Melin said. “These are just numbers on a piece of paper, but what it also reflects is the tremendous commitment of every staff member at all three high schools to do everything in their power to try to treat every student as an individual, find out what it’s going to take to help them be successful. This is, perhaps, of all the metrics we follow, the most important metric.”

While surrounding districts have graduation rates well into the range of 90 percent, the percentage of students graduating with waivers ranges from 11.9 percent to 15.5 percent at the district level.

The board also got an update on the performance of its new wellness clinic. Opened in December, the clinic has already saved the district nearly $1 million in claims and pharmacy costs compared to what it would have spent without the clinic.

Tom Dykiel, chief financial officer, said the weekly reports from the clinic have pleased him so far. About $149,000 in pharmacy savings have come in so far and the district has realized about $720,000 in savings on claims.

“Everybody likes the clinic, I haven’t really heard anything bad about the clinic,” Dykiel said. “The staff is great. If you haven’t gone, go. It’s voluntary and I want to see that $1 million come to fruition.”

Kevin Satterly, board member, said he visited the clinic and was impressed with the level of care he received.

In other business at the meeting:

• Sara Porter was approved unanimously as the new principal at Pleasant Ridge Elementary. Porter previously served as a teacher of Title I intervention at W. E. Wilson Elementary. She begins her position on July 14.

• The board unanimously approved textbook rental fees for elementary schools for the 2014-15 school year. Parents of kindergartners will pay $45,

first-graders will pay $60, second-graders will pay $50 and grades three through five will pay $70. The measure passed 6-0, with board vice president, Christina Gilkey, absent.

• The board also unanimously approved high school English/language arts and world languages textbook adoptions. Amy Schellenberg, executive director for Educational Services, said at the high school level, the district is able to begin integration of electronic books. Classes will have a classroom set of books, but students will have content licenses on their Chromebooks to access the materials online.

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