It’s hard to believe how fast the month of September has gone! I guess time truly does fly when you are having fun! Honestly it has been a terrific start to the year. Several teachers and other staff members have commented how awesome our students have been and are really excited to watch them grow and learn as the year progresses.
October is an extremely important month in the lives of our students. It is the month in which the first grade report comes out so students get a glance at their academic progress. This pivotal update will be a positive validation for some students, but also serves as an important reminder for students who might have some less than desirable grades. Since this is only the six-week mark of the semester there is still time to make improvements. Be sure to check your student’s grades via parent vue, particularly after October 18th. If you are not currently signed up for parent vue you can do so by contacting our north office or library. Also plan to attend parent/teacher conferences the evening of October 25th and the morning of October 26th. There you can meet your student’s teachers and discuss their grades in person. Please know that you may also reach out to any of your student’s teachers via email at any time. Email addresses can be found by accessing our high school website.
In my last newsletter I mentioned that we have set three achievement goals: increase graduation rate; increase ontrack to graduation rate for ninth and tenth grade students; and improve student-adult connections. Over the next couple of months I would like to address each goal in a bit more depth beginning with graduation rate.
As you know graduation rate is seen as the ultimate indicator of success for a high school. That being said we have raised our rate from 70% in 2011 to 77% in 2018. This growth has been a result of a lot of hard work and innovation. We believe we are set up to make more significant strides and have set a goal to increase our graduation rate 2% each year for the next three years. In order to achieve this we have several strategies in place, two that I would like to focus on here: advisory and our student engagement team.
Last year we instituted an advisory (homeroom) program. Advisory was designed to increase student-adult connections, focus on academic achievement, and address the socio-emotional needs of our students. We learned a lot in year one and we continue to feel that these three things will contribute to an increased graduation rate.
The role of the student engagement team at our high school is to identify students who are at risk, discern their needs and develop a plan that will lead to their success. The team consists of an engagement specialist (team lead) and five graduation coaches. Each coach has a cohort of around 70 students that they work with on a consistent basis. Since the teams inception last year we have noted that students who are being mentored have shown significant improvement in attendance, academics, and behavior. We feel that this intervention will help these students reach graduation status.
Hope you enjoy October! Looking forward to seeing you at conferences!
Principal John Bier