When Mount Si High School Principal John Belcher spoke at the Class of 2015 Graduation ceremony last June, he said he felt very connected that class because they both started as freshman together – back in the fall of 2011 when he took over the reigns as principal.
Belcher said he challenged the class of 2015 with a goal – to have each and every one of them graduate on-time and together in the Mount Si stadium. If that lofty goal was achieved, it would mark a 14% increase over the [MSHS] Class of 2012 and be well-above the state average of 77%.
It seems they came pretty darn close.
The Snoqualmie Valley School District announced Friday, February 5, 2016, that its 4-year, on-time graduation rate had reached a new high of 92%. The number includes students at SVSD’s two high schools – Mount Si and Two Rivers. The graduation rate at Mount Si High School was about 97%, according to the district.
SVSD recently reported the Class of 2015 graduation rate to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), which is its highest on-time (within four years) graduation rate since the state officially began tracking and reporting the number that follows the same cohort of students over time. It was also the fourth consecutive year of gains in the Snoqualmie Valley.
“What is most exciting about this data, is that it means more Snoqualmie Valley students are achieving success, not just in school but in preparation for life. I commend the educators at all grade levels whose relentless dedication to helping students learn and grow, every day, is paying off,” said Superintendent Joel Aune. “These improving graduation rates are indeed a cause for celebration. And at the same time, we remain committed to doing even better — to ensure ALL students experience success.”
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Strategic Plan Objective – Increase Graduation Rate
In 2014 the district implemented a Strategic Plan, with one of its key objectives to help all students graduate on time. Later that year, an On-Time Graduation Task Force, comprised of 25 educators, launched a six-month study to interview students, evaluate current systems and extensively research best practices.
According to SVSD, the committee identified several factors — related to individuals, school, family and community — that posed a barrier to graduation success for some students. In response, a three-year plan was developed to increase support for struggling learners, with new initiatives designed to focus on excessive absenteeism, lack of student engagement, social and emotional readiness to learn, grading practices and early prevention to supplement remediation programs.
A few of the new district programs being added include:
- An early warning system was developed to look at risk factors and data to help identify students who may need extra support.
- A new instructional coaching model to support teaching in all SVSD classrooms.
- All schools are implementing a comprehensive positive behavior framework.
- A core group of secondary staff are being trained this year on a nationally-recognized college/career readiness program called Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), which will be offered to students next year.
Graduation rates and other information about school districts across the state can be found on the OSPI website.