Schools report progress: AHS grad rate 97% for 2015

Published 12:31 am Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ninety-seven percent of the 133 students who entered the freshman class at Andalusia High School in 2011-2012 graduated this past May.

Dr. Daniel Shakespeare presented this and other data about the class Monday when discussing the school’s Continuous Improvement plans (CIPs).

Those 133 students had an average composite score of 19.1 on the ACT college readiness test, which was the state average for the same year.

When evaluated using WorkKeys, a test which measures work skills, more than half scored in the top levels. One student scored platinum, meaning he or she had the necessary foundational skills for 99 percent of the jobs in the database; 59 scored gold, qualifying them for 93 percent of the jobs; 27 scored silver, qualifying for 67 percent of the jobs; and 25 scored bronze, qualifying them for 16 percent of the jobs.

AHS has as its goals for the 2016 fiscal year decreasing the achievement gaps between students in subgroups and the general population in both math and English language arts. To accomplish these goals, teachers will participate in professional development in ACT prep, Classworks, A+ Learning, co-teaching and strategic teaching, and will provide differentiated instruction.

But, Shakespeare said, teachers also are working to change the culture, by building relationships that ensure each student has at least one adult who knows him or her well.

“The reason this is important is that all kids are not encouraged at home,” he said. “We want to give every kid an opportunity to be successful. We want to make AHS a place were kids find sure footing.”

The plan also calls for teachers to make at least two positive phone calls to parents each week, and uses “play money” known as Bulldog Bills which teachers award each week for good behavior. Shakespeare said students in turn redeem them for free break on Fridays.

The school also has revamped E-block, originally designed for electives and as a time struggling students could get help. Now, ninth graders participate in exploratory classes. 10th, 11th and 12th graders participate in test prep classes. Help is still available for those struggling to stay on course, he said.