hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


March 13, 2014

High school must strive for even greater graduation numbers

Things are looking good at Haverhill High.

The school is shining, with completion of a multimillion-dollar renovation of the building.

Haverhill High’s leaders, staff and students say having a building that is like new instills a deeper sense of pride there. They are proud to come from a community which invested big bucks to resurrect a building with many problems, some of which interfered with the learning process.

There’s a lot to be said for giving students classrooms and other learning areas where they can accomplish good things.

In the sports arena, more and more kids are trying out for teams — the result of student fees being cut. That has made Haverhill High more competitive against other schools, yet another reason for the renewed growth of Hillie pride.

But more important than a shiny building or competitive sports teams is the bottom line — how much students are learning and how many of them stay in school to earn their diploma.

Haverhill High’s success in that area is the best news of all.

The Haverhill High dropout rate, long an albatross around the school’s neck, is improving. (See story, Page 1.) It is the lowest it has been in nearly a decade.

In turn, the school’s graduation rate is also improving. That rate is the school’s highest in eight years.

According to a report released by the state, Haverhill High’s dropout rate in 2013 was 4.7 percent, compared to 5.6 percent the year before.

In 2013, Haverhill High graduated 75.3 percent of the students that entered as ninth graders during the 2009-2010 school year. That is an increase of 4.2 percent from the 2012 graduation rate of 71.1 percent.

This is all good news. Those who worked to make it happen deserve credit.

But there is still work to be done.

The school’s dropout rate is still higher than the state average. More students are dropping out at Haverhill High than at many other Massachusetts public high schools.

Kudos to the school for what it has accomplished, but here’s hoping there will be no resting on those laurels.

We urge everyone involved to keep striving for something better.

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