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12 of 17 APS High Schools Show Increase in Graduation Rates
Twelve of Albuquerque Public Schools’ 17 high schools showed an increase in their graduation rates in 2011, according to numbers released today by the state Public Education Department.
May 4, 2012
“We have some very good news about graduation rates for 2011,” said APS Superintendent Winston Brooks, as he spoke to news media this afternoon. “Seventy-one percent of our high schools in this district increased their graduation rates.”
Brooks, however, noted that because the state changed the way it calculates graduation rates, the district’s 2011 graduation rate actually went down by 1.3 percent to 63.4 percent.
“The 63.4 percent is a new baseline, which we can’t compare to previous years,” Brooks added.
The new formula for calculating 4-year cohort graduation rates for the first time includes the district’s locally-authorized charter schools, no longer grants special education students extra time to graduate even if it is in their individualized education plan, no longer allows pregnant or parenting students extra time to graduate, and no longer gives incarcerated students more time to graduate.
Freedom High, which is one of the district’s alternative schools, saw the largest jump in its graduation rate, going to 33.5 percent in 2011 from 23.1 percent in 2010. Albuquerque High saw the largest increase at 5.6 percent among the district’s comprehensive high schools climbing to 63.7 percent.
Other schools showing increases and their rates were:
● Eldorado High up .8 percent to 80.6 percent;
● Highland High up 2 percent to 48.9 percent;
● La Cueva High up .7 percent to 85.6 percent;
● Manzano High up .3 percent to 68.1 percent;
● Rio Grande High up 2.5 percent to 52.1 percent;
● Sandia High up .2 percent to 76.9 percent;
● Valley High up 1.8 percent to 69.1 percent;
● West Mesa High up 4.7 percent to 58.2 percent;
● Early College Academy up 5 percent to 79.2 percent;
● School-on-Wheels up 4 percent to 19.3 percent.
Brooks said that two schools saw drops in their graduation rates because their student populations changed dramatically.
“Not to make excuses, but 2010 was the last year that students could choose to go to Cibola High School instead of Volcano Vista High School, so Cibola saw a large decrease in the number of students in 2011 and Volcano Vista saw a big increase in students,” he said.
APS schools showing decreases in their graduation rates were:
● Cibola High down 2.1 percent to 74.3 percent;
● Del Norte High down 7.5 percent to 54.7 percent;
● Volcano Vista High down 5.8 percent to 79.4 percent;
● eCADEMY (formerly Albuquerque Evening School) down 5.9 percent to 4.7 percent; and
● New Futures (which serves pregnant and parenting teens) down 13.8 percent to 34.4 percent.
“You can see the change in the way the rate was calculated had a tremendous effect on the rate at New Futures,” Brooks said. “This was expected. As for the others, we are still studying the numbers and will continue to look at changes we can make to improve the rates for the district.”
He did note that APS has a number of programs in place currently to help boost graduation rates including offering extended-day programs at all high schools to help students make up credits and graduate on time.
Brooks also pointed out redesign efforts including the one at Rio Grande High School and efforts to improve school facilities like the building project now going on at Del Norte High School.
He said that providing teachers with more opportunities to collaborate and address student deficiencies is also helping, as is the AVID program (Advancement via Individual Determination) that is designed to help students raise expectations and achieve greater success.
“We will keep doing everything we can to improve and get more students to graduate on time,” he concluded.