GCHS team: New, innovative strategies help boost graduation rates.

5/19/2014

New, innovative strategies help boost graduation rates.

New, innovative strategies help boost graduation rates.

GCHS team

Many local graduates recently received well deserved congratulations.

At the same time, those in the educational setting who helped put the students in position to succeed also deserve accolades.

Educators have been instrumental in many success stories at Garden City High School, with one particularly notable achievement of late coming in better graduation rates.

Between 2009 and 2013, the overall GCHS student population graduation rate reportedly rose from 62.9 to 80.6 percent.

The trend has been especially encouraging among Hispanic students, climbing from 58.98 percent in 2009 to 80.6 in 2013. While the rate among white students dipped between 2012 and 2013, from 88.4 to 87.5 percent, the latest figures easily eclipsed the 2009 rate of 79.5 percent.

Graduation rates for 2014 are expected to show an increase, as well.

In addressing the improvement, school officials rightly acknowledged they cannot be satisfied with any number below 100 percent. But, they also know new strategies have paid off.

Part of the goal has been to target at-risk students who need additional support and encouragement to stay in school, and various initiatives have made a difference: Communities in Schools, the Jobs for America's Graduates program, the Advancement Via Individual Determination program and Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, among others.

Count the community's investment in a new high school that better meets students' needs — which the crowded, outdated, former high school could no longer do — as another difference-maker.

Four GCHS academies of learning — Trade and Health Science, Arts and Communications, Public Service and a Ninth Grade Academy — provide a bridge between education and career planning. The focus on academic and technical areas also delivers workforce development education the region needs.

And, having freshmen in their own learning community is a proven way to ease their transition into the high school setting at a time those students often are at risk of dropping out.

When even one student quits high school, it's one too many.

Give credit to the local school district for its progress in improving the graduation rate, and in better positioning students and the community as a whole for future success.

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