Six area high schools Nation Ford, Clover, Indian Land, South Pointe, Northwestern and Chester saw their graduation rates improve noticeably in 2012 over the previous year, according to South Carolinas 12th annual school report cards released Tuesday.
Among the six other local high schools, graduation rates either remained the same or fell.
Indian Land Highs graduation rate climbed 11 percentage points to 89.81 percent, the areas highest jump.
Indian Land Principal David Shamble credited the increase to better record-keeping and an effort to reach potential dropouts early. Students with poor attendance, grades and behavior are asked to meet with a behavior intervention team made up of an assistant principal, a teacher, a guidance counselor and one of the students parents. They meet throughout the year, at least four times, to set goals and evaluate progress.
Its been a concerted effort over a few years, Shamble said. Weve been very successful.
Nation Ford Highs graduation rate jumped nearly four percentage points to 94.08 percent, the states eighth highest after selective magnet schools and charter campuses.
Principal Beverley Bowman sees it as a by-product of the schools overall approach.
Our goal really is to make sure students are successful, she said. We improved in our HSAP (exit exam) pass rate and student attendance. Students are happy here. When students are successful ... thats why theyre graduating.
S.C. public schools track high-school completion in two ways: the graduation rate and dropout rate. The graduation rate is figured by tallying the number of ninth-graders who earn diplomas four years later. The dropout rate tracks how many students leave each year.
Schools are responsible for keeping track of students. If a South Pointe High student moves to another school, for instance, South Pointe must have records confirming the student enrolled elsewhere. Without proof, that student could count against South Pointes graduation rate.
South Pointe Principal Al Leonard said better record keeping has helped his school, which saw the graduation rate jump six percentage points to 76.4 percent.
Also, Leonard said, teachers are working more closely with students we have here to make sure they stay on track.
Each teacher is assigned a group of ninth-graders to keep up with throughout their high school careers, Leonard said. They meet once a week as a group for lessons on various topics such as study skills, social skills and scholarship search strategies.
The idea, Leonard said, is to give teens a mentor, someone they can turn to who they know cares about them.
The state report cards, overseen by the Education Oversight Committee, also show more than a dozen schools across York, Chester and Lancaster counties received stellar ratings for students performance on standardized tests.
The annual reports cards are intended to keep parents in the loop and spotlight both high and low performers. They include a wealth of information about each school and district, including graduation rates, test scores, federal ratings and responses from teacher, parent and student surveys.
They rate schools based on standardized test scores. Schools are judged on two factors: how students performed on tests overall, and how well students improved from the prior year. They can receive one of five ratings in each of the two categories: At-risk, Below Average, Average, Good and Excellent.
Here are the schools across York, Chester and Lancaster counties that received an Excellent in both categories:
India Hook Elementary
Old Pointe Elementary
The Childrens School at Sylvia Circle
Rawlinson Road Middle
Dutchman Creek Middle
Orchard Park Elementary
Gold Hill Elementary
Fort Mill Elementary
Sugar Creek Elementary
Pleasant Knoll Elementary
Banks Trail Middle
Fort Mill Middle
Gold Hill Middle
Nation Ford High
Griggs Road Elementary
Crowders Creek Elementary
Indian Land Elementary
Indian Land Middle
Indian Land High
To see them, visit: http://ed.sc.gov
Hover over research portal, click report cards and choose a year.