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Each year, hundreds of seniors at high schools in Provo eagerly anticipate graduation. It is an exciting event to celebrate accomplishments and launch students into the next phase of life. However, not every student has the opportunity to celebrate, as far too many students are not meeting the requirements to graduate.
Over the past couple of months, Provo City School District has formed a graduation committee and meetings have commenced to look at graduation rates in the district. Graduation rates count the percentage of students that graduate on time (in 4 years) and are separate from the dropout rate. While this number has remained static for the past few years, and been at 71% for the past two years, it needs to improve. That is the purpose of the graduation committee. The committee is made up of various representatives at the high schools, including administrators and counselors, and other district and school individuals that work closely with high school aged students.
The district has set an initial goal to raise the district graduation rate to 90%. While the number is an important goal, it is not the sole focus of the committee. More importantly, the committee is focusing on the students that are not completing the graduation requirements and how they can best help them.
To do this, the committee is looking at each of the high schools and asking critical questions such as:
- How can struggling students be better supported?
- Why do many students seem to struggle in 9th grade?
- How do we ensure that students are not falling through the cracks?
- Do students know the value of a high school diploma and understand the life-long implications of not graduating?
As meetings continue, the committee will begin to develop and implement a plan in the district to improve graduation rates at each high school. The committee has met four times and expects to start seeing tangible results of their efforts in the next few months.