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.