Graduation rates rising

By Hillary Gavan hgavan@beloitdailynews.com | Posted: Friday, May 8, 2015 4:00 pm

Graduation rates at high schools in the Beloit area remain strong, showing more than 88 percent of Beloit students graduate in four years. In the Turner District more than 95 percent get a diploma in four years.

Both districts have increased graduation rates over last year.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) on Thursday released graduation rate figures for high schools in the state, showing Wisconsin’s high school graduation rates are among the top in the nation.

The class of 2014 had a statewide graduation rate of 88.6 percent, up 0.6 points from the prior year. Data shows closing gaps in graduation rates between 2009-10 and 2013-14 for students across all racial and ethnic groups as well as for students with disabilities and those from economically disadvantaged families.

The cohort rate reflects students who graduate high school in four years while the legacy rate indicates students who need additional time to earn their diploma. DPI tracks graduation up to six years once a student has started high school.

The School District of Beloit’s 2014 graduation rate increased 5.6 percentage points to 88.3 percent, on par with the state’s graduation rate of 88.6 percent. The Beloit graduation rate includes students from Beloit Memorial High School, Beloit Learning Academy, Roy Chapman Andrews Academy and Beloit Virtual Learning School.

Beloit’s 4-year cohort graduation rate was 88.3 percent for the 2013-2014 school year. Beloit’s 4-year graduation rate in 2012-2013 was 81.8 percent, and in 2011-2012 the 4-year graduation rate was 83.6 percent.

The 5-year rate for Beloit for 2013-2014 was 90.4 percent; in 2012-2013 the 5-year rate was 92.4 percent; and in 2011-2012 the 5-year rate was 90 percent.

For the past five years, students of color in Beloit graduated at higher rates than their peers statewide, with district achievement gaps lower than state rates. African-American graduation rates in Beloit are 20 percentage points higher than their statewide counterparts.

For example; 85 percent of African-American students in Beloit graduated in four years compared to 65 percent of those statewide; 86.9 percent of Beloit’s Hispanic students graduated in four years compared to the state rate of 78.1 percent; and 90.4 percent of the district’s white students graduated compared to the state rate of 92.9 percent.

For the past five years in Beloit, economically disadvantaged students graduated at higher rates than their statewide counterparts. In 2013-14, the Beloit rate increased 5.7 points to 85 percent compared to the state rate of 77.9 percent. The non-economically disadvantaged rate was 94.8 percent for the district and 93.8 percent for the state.

Female graduation rates in the Beloit School District have remained steady at a high rate for the past several years, 88.9 percent in 2013-2014, but the male graduation rate jumped 16.9 points from last year to 88 percent this year.

Dr. Tom Johnson, interim co-superintendent, said he is pleased with the results, noting the students had access to the interventions, increased class offerings, and “a dedicated/caring staff that were determined to not let them fall through the cracks.”

“We believe programming that concentrated on the literacy skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening increased student capacity through individualized learning plans that better engaged students,” added Co-Superintendent Dr. Pam Kiefert.

“This BMHS graduating class of 2014 has received three years of targeted programming,” said Director of Curriculum Peg Muehlenkamp. “Staff have implemented interventions, focused on attendance strategies, and expanded community-supported courses such as Advanced Career Education to reach the needs and interests of all students.”

The Beloit Turner School District’s 4-year cohort graduation rate was 95.8 percent for the 2013 – 2014 school year. Beloit Turner’s 4-year graduation rate in 2012-2013 was 91.2 percent, and in 2011-2012 the 4-year graduation rate was 97.6 percent.

The 5-year rate for the Beloit Turner School District for 2013-2014 was 97.1 percent; in 2012-2013 the 5-year rate of 97.7 percent; and 2011-2012 the 5-year rate was 94.7 percent.

“We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of the Class of 2014. These results are a testament to the hard work of the staff of the School District of Beloit Turner and of our students,” said Turner Superintendent Dennis McCarthy.

Along with an increase in graduation rates, he said this class also exceeded the state’s ACT average with a composite score of 22.4 versus the state average of 22.1.

Clinton High School had a 4-year cohort graduation rate of 96.8 percent in 2013-2014. In 2012-2013 the rate was 92.5 percent and in 2011-2012 the rate was 93.6 percent.

Clinton’s 5-year-rate was 97.1 percent in 2013-2104; 95.4 percent in 2012-2013; and 97 percent in 2011-2012.

Parkview School District had a 4-year cohort graduation rate of 90.5 percent in 2013-2014. In 2012-2013 the 4-year rate was 97.6 percent and in 2011-2012 the 4-year rate was 88 percent.

Parkview’s 5-year-rate was 97.6 percent in 2013-2104; 89.3 percent in 2012-2013; and 90.7 percent in 2011-2012.