Students in the Houston Independent School District are graduating at a higher rate for the fourth straight year, thanks in part to better tracking and online make-up courses, Superintendent Terry Grier said Monday.
The district reported a graduation rate of 78.5 percent for the Class of 2011, up 4 percentage points from the prior year and 14 points from 2007.
“This is big-time news,” said Grier, who joined HISD in 2009. “To see this type of improvement in our school district, I think it has major implications for our city.”
Grier attributed the improved graduation numbers partly to school committees that meet weekly to track students who drop out – visiting their homes in some cases – or are at risk of dropping out. He also said his “grad lab” program, which allows students to recover credits at a quicker pace through online courses, has helped.
HISD graduated more than 9,000 students last year, up from nearly 7,000 four years ago. The number of dropouts fell to 1,364, from nearly 2,400 in 2007.
Grier has made raising the graduation rate and lowering the dropout rate centerpieces of his administration, so I’m sure he’s delighted to tout these numbers. As we know, there’s more than one way to measure this statistic, but by either metric HISD is moving in the right direction. Ensuring that every kid can pass the exit exams and be ready for what comes after high school is the next step, but we can celebrate this first. Hair Balls has more.