Scully and other school officials commended the work of grant-funded programs that supported students who might have dropped out due to economic, academic, or family issues, and inspired them to graduate on time.
Interim Haverhill High Principal Beth Kitsos said the night school, computer based learning program and YES (Youth Engaging in Success) program contributed to the trend.
Each program targets a group of students who have unique challenges, yet aspire to graduate, Kitsos said. She said those programs give students who would not have the chance of graduating the opportunity to get their degree through personalized learning environments and increased connections with teachers and guidance counselors.
“One push is to help students who are nearing graduation but are still short of required credits get those credits,” Kitsos said. “We made a concerted effort to reach out to those students.
“Decreasing the dropout rate and increasing the graduation rate are two of my priorities,” Kitsos said.
Kitsos said the development of the school’s Freshmen Academy has contributed to the graduation and dropout gains at Haverhill High. Freshmen and sophomore years are the most challenging for some students.
The Freshmen Academy was developed to keep groups of students together with a team of teachers who focus on the individual needs of each student through the development of personalized learning activities, increased parent involvement, and collaboration by teacher teams and support staff.
HAVERHILL HIGH BY THE NUMBERS
2013 graduation rate: 75.3 percent
2012 graduation rate: 71.1 percent
2013 English language learners’ graduation rate: 65 percent
2012 English language learners’ graduation rate: 41.5 percent
Dropout rate (grades 9-12, by percent)
Source: State Department of Education