Spokane Public Schools is proud to announce the continued improvement of its graduation rate. The on-time rate for 2010-11 is 76.7 percent, up from 68.2 percent last year.
John R. Rogers High School saw the greatest gain, with 76 percent of its students graduating on time last year, compared to 55 percent in 2009-10. This is the first year that all districts nationwide are required to use the same method to calculate graduation rates, which involves tracking the same group of students from ninth grade through 12th grade.
“It should provide a truer picture of who is graduating in four years,” said Joan Poirier, graduation & college success supervisor for SPS.
District officials credit the improved graduation rate to several factors, including better tracking of students, having a single point of contact for students asking to leave the district, targeted identification and support of students with multiple risk factors, credit retrieval opportunities at each high school and the On Track Academy.
This year, there has been an extra focus on special education students, English Language Learners and Native American students – historically, the groups with the lowest graduation rates. A “Graduation Success Team” is using data to identify and support schools in working with their students. In addition, Achievement Gap Intervention Specialists, placed at each of the high schools, are providing individual supports to ensure their identified group of students is making progress and seeing their own success toward graduation and beyond.
“These targeted programs and interventions would not be possible without the generous support of our community,” said Superintendent Nancy Stowell, noting that contributions from Inland Northwest Community Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Harriet Cheney Cowles Foundation, Empire Health Foundation, United Way of Spokane, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Raikes Foundation and Greater Spokane Incorporated thus far total $780,000.
“By involving these foundations and other community organizations in our work to promote the success for each of our students, we hope to achieve collective impact in continuing this improvement of our graduation rate,” said Fred Schrumpf, director of graduation improvement.