News and Tribune

April 17, 2014

Gaining on the competition: Greater Clark’s graduation rate tops 90 percent

By JEROD CLAPP
jerod.clapp@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE — They’ve reached the 90 percent mark in graduation rates as a district, but Andrew Melin, superintendent of Greater Clark County Schools, said there’s still more work to do.

Though he said he’s excited about this year’s results from the Indiana Department of Education, Melin said he wants all of Greater Clark’s high schools to make that achievement.

“I think for us, with where we were, I think the higher you perform, the more challenge there is to continue to grow,” Melin said. “Honestly, in our school corporation, I believe there’s still room for upward movement in the graduation area. I do believe that there’s still plenty of room to grow and get better.”

The district achieved a 90.2 percent graduation rate, slightly lower than its peers across Clark and Floyd counties, but now they’re all close.

Charlestown High School had the most notable gain, nearly 5 percentage points from 2012, up to 94.2 percent. Jeffersonville and New Washington high schools came in at 89 and 89.7 percent, respectively.

But of all the districts in Clark and Floyd counties, Greater Clark had the lowest rate of graduation waivers. Students can get a waiver to graduate if they don’t pass one of their state-administered End of Course Assessments and pass a series of requirements.

The district’s overall waiver rate was 7.7 percent, higher than the state average of 6.8 percent, but 4 percentage points lower than the next lowest local district, West Clark Community Schools.

Melin said teachers — as well as principals and school leadership teams — make sure students get any help they need to pass ECAs.

“Bottom line, I believe that our focus is we want our students to earn their diplomas and we are working very diligently to make sure we are providing additional support to make sure that happens,” Melin said. “I know our teachers for English 10 and Algebra 1 have worked hard to make sure our students are as prepared as they certainly can be.”

Now that the district has reached the 90 percent graduation rate, Melin said he hopes some of the new initiatives started this year will make a difference.

With intersession instruction — one of the two weeks of spring and fall breaks implemented with the balanced calendar — Melin said he hopes fewer students will have trouble with getting their diplomas.

“These graduation rates did what they did,” Melin said. “But now we’ll have our fall and spring intersessions and we’re very excited about the data we’re receiving about that. I would hope that based on those 40 hours of additional support, our numbers should continue to improve in terms of waivers and graduation rates.”