BCSC graduation rates in 2021 higher than expected

The Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. graduation rate in 2021 – 84.86%, according to data released by the state – is slightly lower than in 2020 or 2019.

However, as the state had gotten rid of the ‘keep safe’ rules it had implemented over the previous year, secondary school principal Bill Jensen , was satisfied with the number.

“I’m pleasantly surprised that we haven’t seen a big drop,” he said.

According to the Indiana Department of Education, the 2021 graduation rates for local public schools are as follows, by state standards:

Columbus North High School – 84.09% (428 out of 459), up from 87.90% in 2020 and 86.42% in 2019.

Columbus East High School – 85.86% (334 out of 389), up from 85.01% in 2020 and down from 86.37% in 2019.

BCSC overall – 84.86% (762 out of 898), compared to 86.71% in 2020 and 86.40% in 2019.

Hauser Jr./Sr. High school – 93.42% (71 out of 76), against 91.23% (52 out of 57) in 2020 and 86.30% (63 out of 73) in 2019.

The 2021 graduation rate for the state of Indiana was 86.69%. The 2020 rate was 87.69%.

However, state officials have indicated that it is necessary to “exercise caution” when comparing rates for 2019 and 2021 to 2020. Indeed, the 2020 rates reflect a waiver of the graduation exam. graduation for this year’s cohort because the test could not be administered in the midst of the pandemic. . The state’s graduation rate for 2019 was 87.29%.

Jensen acknowledged that it is possible that a larger drop in rates will occur in the future, as the elderly were not the only year affected by the impact of the pandemic.

“We don’t know what that will look like later,” he said. “But for now, I have to say I’m really surprised that the data for 2021 is as close to last year as it is.”

He also praised the work of iGrad coaches and the McDowell Education Center in helping students.

David Wintin, executive director of accelerated learning at Flat Rock-Hawcreek and former director of Hauser, said it was good to get a rate over 90%, although it was always disappointing to have students who do not graduate.

“We still have a pretty good idea of ​​who is going to be successful and who is not, but we have managed to get some kids through,” he said. “… With the number of obstacles in the last two school years – like I said, we are disappointed that we did not pass everyone, but we are happy to have overcome as many as we did. ‘Have done. “

However, he also expressed concern about what spring might contain, given the lingering problems caused by the pandemic. Discussing the outlook for 2022, he mentioned that around five or six students in an alternative school program (half online, half in person) had already completed their graduation requirements by the end of the first semester. However, there are some students who “have a hard time getting by”.

Looking at specific student groups, the BCSC praised the graduation rates of Black, Hispanic and English language (ELL) learners, Jensen said.

The group rates were as follows:

Black – 86.36% (19 out of 22) in 2021, 81.82% (18 out of 22) in 2020 and 86.67% (26 out of 30) in 2019.

Hispanic – 82.79% (101 of 122) in 2021, 78.05% in 2020 (96 of 123) and 80.24% (94 of 117) in 2019.

ELL – 85.42% (41 out of 48), 94.87% (37 out of 39) in 2020 and 73.53% (25 out of 34) in 2019.

Graduation rates for students eligible for free and reduced meals declined significantly from 2019 to 2021. The group recorded a graduation rate of 75.31% (180 of 239) in 2021, up from 84. , 02% (184 out of 219) in 2020 and 81.78%. (220 out of 269) in 2019.

In contrast, students with paid meals had a graduation rate of 94.01% in 2021, 95.77% in 2020, and 95.10% in 2019. Jensen noted that the disparity between these two groups was likely the gap. most important of all.

“Our economically disadvantaged students struggled the most,” he said. “And that doesn’t surprise us at all. … It’s so important to get these students to school, to the classroom, so again, they have equitable resources and equitable education that they may not be able to get at home.

In the 2020-21 school year, all classes switched to e-learning in November. The second semester then began with in-person learning for elementary schools and a hybrid model for high school students, who then returned in person in phases.

The Education Department reported that the 2021 graduation rates correspond to research showing “substantial” academic impacts of the pandemic.

“According to research from IDOE and the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, Inc., the academic impact varies from moderate to significant across schools, academic subjects, and demographic groups,” state officials said. “In response, IDOE has launched several accelerated learning programs, which are still ongoing and will be joined by additional efforts planned for next year.”

Jensen said it was difficult to predict what 2022 will hold for graduation rates.

“I hope we’ll be pleasantly surprised again, but it’s so hard to understand and watch what’s going on with our students, what they’re going through,” he said. “But I think if we can keep them and have a more normal learning environment for them, then we hope we can at least maintain what we were happy to have seen this year. We don’t have a crystal ball. .

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