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Drop-Out Rate Hits All-Time Low

Drop-Out Rate Hits All-Time Low
Posted on 02/14/2020
The district’s 2019 drop-out rate is 4.4 percent, representing a decrease of more than 50 percent over the last seven years.  

“We’ve been working so hard to find remedies to help our most at-risk students stay in school and we are so pleased to have decreased the dropout rate from 10 percent in 2012 to 4.4 percent,” said Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warwick. “We want every single student to stay in school so we will keep working hard towards that goal.”

Warwick made his comments following the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) release of 2019 graduation and drop-out data statewide. 

Warwick also pointed out the continuing graduation rate progress of the High School of Science and Technology, Central High School and Roger L. Putnam Vocational-Technical Academy.  The High School of Science and Technology is now at 85.6 percent graduation rate, Central is at 89.6 percent and Putnam is at 91.5 percent. In 2012, they were at 39.9 percent, 74.6 percent and 71 percent, respectively. 

The drop out rates at those schools also dropped significantly, according to data released by DESE. The High School of Science and Technology experienced a drop from 11.6 percent in 2012 to 3.9 percent in 2019; Central High School’s dropout rate decreased from 7.7 percent to 2.3 percent for the same time period and Putnam went from 5.1 percent to 0.8 percent. 

Overall, Springfield Public Schools’ work to ensure more students graduate translates to 363 fewer students dropping out in 2019 compared to 2012, a 54 percent decline. The graduation rate has now increased 17.2 percentage points since 2012. 

In recent history, the district’s drop out rate has never been lower, Warwick said.

“We know that even one drop out is one too many and the goal that continues to drive us is a 100 percent graduation rate,” said Warwick. “That’s what we are working towards daily.” 

Warwick added that as reported by DESE at 78.8 percent, the district’s five-year graduation rate is at an all-time high, as is the district’s extended engagement rate of 83 percent. 

“Quite honestly, we know that for some students it takes more than four years to successfully matriculate high school. The good news is that we are seeing more of those students persevere to the finish line,” he said.  

According to information released late yesterday by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the 2019 state graduation rate increased by 0.1 percentage points and the state dropout rate decreased by the same amount. The state’s new graduation rate is 88 percent and its dropout rate is 1.8 percent. 

Since 2012, Springfield Public Schools has narrowed the graduation gap between the district and the state by 50 percent and has closed the drop out gap by 65 percent. 

Warwick continues to credit initiatives such as identifying students at risk for dropping out early and providing the necessary academic and social/emotional supports; the expansion of alternative and flexible pathways to graduation, such as on-line credit recovery courses for in reaching more students and keeping them in school. 

The addition of graduation coaches, ninth and tenth grade academies and a ninth-grade transition course at every high school; as well offering free night and summer school courses are other contributing factors, he said.
Revised 2/28/2020
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