Grad rate solutions are ready for debut

Dec. 07, 2013 @ 07:00 PM

The Vance County Schools system is working to implement strategies that will increase the district’s graduation rate to 85 percent, which is higher than its current rate of 65 percent and the state rate of 82.5 percent.

The administration has focused on several approaches to verify student records, strengthen student support and provide ways for dropouts to earn a high school diploma. The presentation will be made at Monday’s regular meeting by curriculum committee chairman Emeron Cash.

The graduation plan was released this week in the school board’s Dec. 9 meeting agenda.

The document released states it is a framework that will be added to and discussed throughout the school year.

According to the graduation plan, individual schools have started conducting audits every two weeks to identify new enrollments and recent withdrawals, and the district conducts audits every month to help schools identify errors in student records.

The plan states that last spring, school and office personnel identified each year’s cohort list, which sorts class data based on gender, race and socioeconomic status.

The graduation plan also includes programs for school-based support teams of counselors, administrators, school nurses and school social workers to offer help to at-risk students and those who already dropped out transition back into school.

Success plans for all students in grades 9-12 are part of the Vance graduation plan, as well as homeroom advisory sessions where students read and understand transcripts, work on college applications and learn what is meant by “College and Career Ready.”

Each traditional high school has received an additional assistant superintendent, as part of the graduation plan.

Some aspects of the graduation plan are still being developed, such as a mentoring program where each ninth grade student will be assigned an advocate who will meet with the student to discuss academic performance and graduation plans.

ReStart Academy, a program to help dropouts transition back to school, is also in the early stages.

At the school board’s curriculum committee meeting, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction Dr. Trixie Brooks said an online resource called the Vance Online Academy has been established to allow students to recover credit for failed classes.

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.