SYRACUSE — Although schools are still on Christmas break, Indiana Department of Education released 2018 high school graduation rates Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 2.
Because of differences between federal and state accountability equations and standards, IDOE also released 2018 federal graduation rates.
Locally, as reported by the state, Wawasee High School had a waiver graduation rate in 2018 of 92.23 percent, or 190 out of 206 students graduating. The non-waiver graduation rate was at 84.47 percent, or 174 students graduating.
The federal rate was nearly the same with 190 out of 208 students graduating or 91.35 percent. The non-waiver rate was 83.65 percent, or 174 students graduating.
Joy Goshert, assistant superintendent for the Wawasee Community School Corporation, noted the difference in the number of students counted (208 compared to 206) is likely accounted for by the differences in what is allowed to be counted in the cohort group by the state compared to the federal. The state also allows students to be included in the cohort group who have long term medical conditions, have been placed by a court order or are missing, while the federal standards do not allow those students to be counted.
Wawasee’s graduation rate for 2017 was at 86.27 percent, meaning the 2018 rate improved by nearly a full 6 percent. Kim Nguyen, WHS principal, said many factors accounted for the improved graduation rate.
“I would say we tried to look at our 2018 cohort group to identify those students that were at risk of dropping out of high school and tried to work very closely with them on their needs,” he said.
Programs such as Gradway, the academic support team, the gone boarding class, summer ECO Challenge, alternative schools, career and technical education classes, along with teachers, the guidance department and administrative team worked together to help students, he said.
Wawasee has a yearly goal of at least a 90 percent graduation rate. Another step was taken last year when a Lilly Endowment counseling grant allowed for the creation of a new position, a student success advocate. Sarah LeCount was hired and began working in late September. It is hoped her work will eventually improve the graduation rate even more.
Statewide, the waiver graduation rate in 2018 was 88.1 percent and the non-waiver rate was 80.78 percent.