The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

More about the class of 2006

It has been popular in various media outlets, especially the Indy Star to publish dropout rate statistics using exiting 8th graders or incoming 9th graders and projecting those numbers out to the senior year and claim that those not “graduating” are “dropouts.” Using the Indy Star’s methods this year's senior class at Wawasee would have what looks like a 74 % graduation rate and/or a 26 % dropout rate. These methods ignore the complexity of modern circumstances.

Here are some statistics from this year’s senior class at Wawasee that refute some of the doom and gloom claims by the Indy Star.

In the spring of 2002 there were 275 students leaving 8th grade.
In the fall of 2002 there were 282 incoming freshman.
In the spring of 2006 there are 208 graduating seniors from that incoming class .
On the surface that looks like a 74 % graduation rate and/or a 26 % dropout rate.

However, here is the rest of the story:

12 students received certificates of completion or attendance. 7 were students with diagnosed special learning needs and 5 were foreign exchange students

18 students are in still in the Alternative School working on the diploma track or working on a GED. They may graduate – just not in four years

6 have already earned a GED

4 are working on the GED somewhere else

1 student passed away

29 transferred to other schools

14 transferred into WHS and graduated on time this year

14 of the 208 graduating received their diploma through the Wawasee Academy

0 Transferred to home school

1 was expelled and never returned

12 students left or disappeared and we withdrew them eventually without receiving a transfer request

5 dropped out (through the exit interview process)

If we consider the 12 who disappeared + 5 who dropped out + 1 who was expelled and never returned, that makes 18 students we know have left the system. Assuming they are all "dropouts" and that they have not continued school somewhere else, would make the drop out rate 6%. If all of those in the alternative school dropped out too, then it could go up as high as 12% from this incoming group of freshman.

Assuming realistically that several of them will graduate, I would guess the true drop out rate is closer to 7 % or 8% not the 26% you will read in the newspaper.

The most amazing statistic is that 93% of the 208 students graduating were here for all 4 years.

And that folks is the rest of the story.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear that the drop out rate isn't as high as the Indy Star might calculate. Butk, it's still too many, Doc. So, what is WHS going to do about it? Any plans on how to reach more kids?

Dr. Mark J. Stock said...

The high school is trying to do more to "connect" freshman to the high school. All across the nation the same thing occurs and it is troubling to all of us. High freshman failure rates will start some students off discouraged. Finding some classes that students enjoy in the first few years of high school that fit an interest is a good thing, although the pressure to get a Core 40 diploma or Honors Diploma limits their elective choices.

The high school has several plans underway, none of which by themselves are "earth shattering" or unusual, but we hope to help some. We have expanded the alternative school, provided credit retrieval classes and provide 3 trimesters for 2 trimester classes for students that fail.

We are open to more ideas.

We must find a way to influence more students to care and to see the value in it.

Anonymous said...

How many of the 'transfers' were on the edge of being included in the drop out rate or expulsion rate? Regardless of the 'statistics', I believe my children will receive excellent educations in any Kosciusko county school.

Anonymous said...

I talked with an elementary teacher (from our system) this weekend at one of several graduation celebrations I was able to attend. They commented that only 5 of their first grade class graduated this year. It would be interesting to find out the number of students that attended all 12 years of school in the Wawasee system.

Dr. Mark J. Stock said...

I do not know if any of the 29 transfers in would have been dropouts. I am sure that is likely.

I know that 14 that transferred IN to WHS completed on time. I do not know how many transferred in after their freshman year and dropped out, or how many transferred in after 9th and left before 12th grade to transfer to another high school. That might be interesting to know as well.

The other comment about 5 first grade students in the classroom graduating 12 years later, does not sound surprising to me. I was shocked to see that 194 of our 208 graduates were here for all 4 years of high school. Although people are much more mobile in society these days, it seems like most parents will try to make a move before high school. Changing high schools seems to be more difficult than at other grades because students form stronger relationships with peers at those levels.