Improved grad rates sign efforts on right track

The Community Education Coalition has been working toward the ambitious goal of a 100 percent graduation rate in Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. Initiatives such as iGrad have been implemented to help attain that goal.

Coalition members and school officials have reason to smile then, because the latest graduation rates released by the state education department show increases in graduation rates for North and East high schools and the district. According to the latest state figures:

Bartholomew Consolidated improved from 85.2 percent in 2013 to 89.8 percent in 2014 — matching the state average. The increase continues an upward trend for the district, as its rate improved from 80.6 percent in 2011 to 84.4 percent in 2012.

North jumped from 84.6 percent in 2013 (a slight decrease from the previous year) to 91.1 percent in 2014.

East — like the district — has demonstrated improvement over multiple years, the latest an increase from 86 percent in 2013 to 88.2 percent in 2014.

The iGrad program, which pairs students with graduation coaches and focuses on mentoring, motivation and remediation to encourage students to stay on the diploma track, is among the efforts that are having an impact. Data supports that it is a useful tool. In 2013, 42 of 44 seniors enrolled in the program graduated. Last year, 60 of 64 seniors graduated.

The school district also is intentionally explaining to students why the curriculum they are learning will help them in the future, and greater efforts are being made to steer students who are withdrawing to alternative programs that could help them stay in school.

What’s apparent is that community initiatives to increase graduation rates are gaining traction. That’s incentive for partners in the effort to continue on the track that’s established. Indeed, graduation rates are headed in the right direction.