Allen County school districts had reason to celebrate Friday with the release of the 2020 graduation rates.
Their districtwide rates ranged from 90.2% to 97.9%, besting the statewide rate of 87.7%, according to data released by the Indiana Department of Education.
The statewide rate previously was 87.3%.
“This modest improvement in Indiana's 2020 graduation rate is encouraging, especially as Hoosier students and educators have tackled unprecedented challenges throughout the pandemic,” Katie Jenner, Indiana secretary of education, said in a statement.
The state graduation rate reflects the waiver of the graduation qualifying exam requirement for the 2020 cohort, which couldn't be administered due to the pandemic.
Of the four local school systems, Fort Wayne Community Schools saw the biggest gains from 2019, increasing from 85.8% to 92.3%.
The rate not only reflects increases at each of the five FWCS high schools, but it also is the highest since at least 2012, spokeswoman Krista Stockman said.
“Everyone knows the end of the year was challenging for the Class of 2020, but the work the students, parents and staff put in prior to the pandemic paid off,” Stockman said. “Our schools have become increasingly focused on making sure students are prepared for life after high school. When they are prepared for the next step, they are more likely to graduate.”
FWCS' overall graduation rate was particularly affected by gains at Northrop High School, which rose from 80.9% to 92.6%.
Northrop benefited from lessons learned in 2019 about new graduation pathways, Stockman said, explaining confusion in 2019 led to delays for some students.
East Allen County Schools' graduation rate, which reflects five schools, remained relatively unchanged at 90.2%; it was 90.3% in 2019.
Superintendent Marilyn Hissong noted “significant growth” at New Haven Junior-Senior High School, which increased from 84.3% to 89.5%.
“Overall, East Allen County Schools is pleased with the graduation rates considering that we did not finish the school year in a traditional manner due to the pandemic,” Hissong said in a statement.
Both Northwest Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools have only one high school. Their graduation rates of 97.9% (NACS) and 96.3% (SACS) were slightly higher than their 2019 rates.
NACS Superintendent Chris Himsel said the district is proud of the students for their accomplishments and the employees who engaged, supported and challenged them throughout their K-12 education.
“A high school diploma does not denote the end of an educational journey, but it helps to create options for graduates to pursue their dreams while serving our country, continuing their educational journey, or employing their talents in meaningful careers,” Himsel said in a statement.
Park Ginder, Homestead High School principal, agreed that the graduation rate reflects more than a single year's worth of effort.
“From kindergarten to commencement,” he said in a statement, “these numbers are a testament to the tireless dedication and efforts of SACS students, families, teachers, guidance counselors and our community partners as we work together to prepare today's learners for tomorrow's opportunities, whatever they may be.”
AREA GRADUATION RATES (PERCENTAGE)
|Adams Central Community||Adams Central||99.0||100.0|
|North Adams Community||Bellmont||92.5||94.1|
|South Adams||South Adams||86.3||92.1|
|East Allen||East Allen University||100.0||96.9|
|East Allen||New Haven||84.3||89.5|
|Fort Wayne Community||North Side||83.6||88.3|
|Fort Wayne Community||Northrop||80.9||92.6|
|Fort Wayne Community||Snider||91.7||95.5|
|Fort Wayne Community||South Side||80.0||89.0|
|Fort Wayne Community||Wayne||93.8||95.7|
|Private||Cornerstone College Prep||90.0||10.0|
|Tippecanoe Valley||Tippecanoe Valley||87.9||95.7|
|Central Noble||Central Noble||90.1||88.5|
|East Noble||East Noble||88.6||92.5|
|West Noble||West Noble||91.5||89.6|
|Southern Wells||Southern Wells||97.0||96.2|
|Whitley County||Columbia City||86.6||94.2|
Source: Indiana Department of Education