Students better prepared for college and technical school success
School Board members and Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith held a regular study meeting Tuesday, June 2 to discuss a report on the district's annual review of graduation rates as part of the Strategic Plan accountability measures.
Superintendent Smith reported more Walla Walla Public Schools students are graduating on time than ever before in modern history according to data released earlier this school year from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Class of 2019. Last year's on-time graduation rate jumped to 90.3%, which is 9.4% above the state average.
When the 2017-2022 Strategic Plan was established, school board members set a target of reaching an 85% on-time graduation rate by 2022. The district has surpassed this mark two years early, by witnessing its graduation rate jump 14% in just three years.
The district has also closed the gap between student ethnic populations as the Hispanic/Latino graduate rate has grown 16% in recent years, to 89.3%.
"There is virtually no graduation gap now," said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. "Our Hispanic/Latino rate is 13.6% above the state Latino graduation rate. This is an incredible accomplishment and a testament to our collective efforts around equity, access, and program supports offered to students."
In addition to graduation rates, the district also monitors post-high school success as measured by the number of students who attend college after high school and how prepared they were to tackle freshman level math and English courses.
"The district's strategic plan, our dedicated staff and deliberate efforts in keeping students connected and engaged to their school led to this historic data,” said Superintendent Smith.
The district has kept up its post-secondary enrollment numbers, mirroring the state with about 60% of graduates attending four-year, two-year or career and technical schools. Data reveals more and more Walla Walla Public Schools’ graduates entering college are prepared for the rigorous coursework. For the first time since 2013, Walla Walla graduates, who attended two-year colleges directly out of high school, outperformed state percentages in math and English readiness.
Superintendent Smith says by not having to take remedial classes in college it saves students and families significant money and helps them get started on earning credits towards a degree. He said he is proud of our staff for supporting the strategic plan and working collectively to prepare students for college, careers and life after high school.