Superintendent Warwick discusses SPS Graduation Success -
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Commissioner Mitchell Chester touts Springfield's Improving Graduation Rate.
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January 24, 2013 - Highlighting a 4.5 percentage point gain in the district's graduation rate and a 1.7 percentage point decrease in its dropout rate, Superintendent of Schools Daniel J. Warwick today reiterated Springfield Public School's "total commitment" to making sure the number of students who graduate from the system continues to rise.
By way of comparison, the state graduation rate rose by 1.3 percent and its dropout rate decreased two-tenths of a percentage point.
"Springfield had one of the strongest improvements in the graduation rate," said Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester.
The Springfield Public Schools graduation rate increased from 52.1 percent in 2011 to 56.6 percent in 2012, according to information released today by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The district's dropout rate fell from 11.7 percent in 2011 to 10 percent in 2012, DESE reported.
"I am absolutely thrilled by our progress," said Warwick. "A great deal of resources have been invested in helping struggling students who may have quit in the past, now stay in school. It's rewarding to see those efforts taking root and encouraging knowing that our improvement rates outpace the state."
Warwick will highlight the school district's progress on increasing the graduation rate during a regularly scheduled School Committee meeting taking place at 6:30 p.m. today at City Hall.
Warwick said the improvements are a result of intensive, sustained efforts to keep students in school until the successful completion of twelfth grade. Programs introduced over the past several years have been designed to focus on steering students to graduation from as early as elementary school with consistent follow-up through the secondary years.
Initiatives such as identifying students at risk for dropping out early and providing the necessary academic and social/emotional supports; improving student attendance and expansion of alternative and flexible pathways to graduation, such has on-line credit recovery courses, have proven to be effective in reaching more students and keeping them in school.
Equally promising practices include the addition of graduation coaches, ninth grade academies and a ninth grade transition course at every high school as well as the overhaul of the "Student Success Plan" and offering free night and summer school courses.
The district expanded its outreach efforts to recent drop-outs in September of 2012 with the development of the Student Re-Engagement Center where former students can "drop back in" to obtain their high school diploma.
"No child starts preschool with a plan to quit school later in life," said Warwick. "What we've tried to do is address the core issues behind why kids drop out. We still have a lot of work to do but our progress to date confirms we are on the right track."