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County High School Grad Rate Above State Average
February 6, 2008 - Four-year graduation rates for four of Henry County's five high schools exceeded the state average for 2007, with Tri Jr.-Sr. H.S. and Shenandoah H.S. once again posting the county's highest rates.
According to data recently released by the Indiana Department of Education, 76.5 percent of Indiana students in public high schools earned diplomas within four years in 2007. Blue River Valley Jr.-Sr. H.S. and Knightstown H.S joined Tri and Shenandoah in surpassing this mark; New Castle Chrysler H.S. did not.
Despite dropping 7.1 points from 2006, Tri again posted the highest graduation rate of the five Henry County high schools for 2007, 91.9 percent. Shenandoah's 91.1 percent, a 1.7 point increase from 2006, was good enough to give them the county's second-highest rate. Tri and Shenandoah were among 55 high schools in the state to graduate more than 90 percent of their students in four years.
Blue River Valley's 82.1 percent 2007 graduation rate was a 3.9 point increase from 2006, while Knightstown's 80.9 percent rate for 2007 represented an 8.2 point drop. New Castle, falling below the state average for a second straight year, posted a 70.8 percent graduation rate for 2007, down 4.9 points from 2006.
Two other area high schools, Rushville Consolidated and Eastern Hancock, also had 2007 graduation rates higher than the state average. Rushville's 89.8 percent was eight points higher than their 2006 rate, while EH's 87.5 was a 6.5 point improvement from the year before.
One other area high school, Greenfield Central, failed to meet the state average for 2007. Their 72.6 percent graduation rate was 10.6 points lower than the school's 2006 graduation rate.
According to a DOE press release, 11.9 percent of Indiana students who did not graduate in 2007 after four years of high school had either dropped out, or their status could not be determined. Other students not counted as graduates included those who earned a GED (2.7 percent), a special education certificate (1 percent) or a nondiploma course completion certificate (0.6 percent), as well as those who were still enrolled in school after four years (7.3 percent).
"The stark reality that not all high school students graduate is by no means a new concern in America, but earning a diploma has never been more critical to future opportunities than it is today," Dr. Suellen Reed, Indiana's Superintendent of Public Instruction, said in a DOE press release. "Despite signs of improvement in some communities, far too many Hoosier students leave school lacking this basic credential."
Though the majority (66 percent) of Indiana public high schools met or exceeded the state average in 2007, graduation rates varied considerably across Indiana. About half (52.3 percent) of high schools graduated more than 80 percent of their senior classes, while 15.1 percent of schools topped 90 percent. By contrast, 5.2 percent of schools graduated less than half of their students within four years.
"Like many of the most pressing challenges in our education system, high school graduation rates reflect larger, societal issues that extend far beyond the classroom," Reed said. "Schools clearly have a crucial role to play, but success greatly depends on the extent to which local communities are engaged in the struggle."
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