Local grad rates good

Published 2:08 am Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Alabama high school graduation rates for 2015 were released recently and all but one local high school performed higher than the state’s 89 percent graduation rate.

Statewide, educators have set the state’s goal at 90 percent by 2020. Just four years ago, the state’s rate was at 72 percent.

Andalusia High School had a 95 percent graduation rate for all students in 2015.

Additionally, black students had a 94 percent graduation rate.

Students considered living in poverty had a 95 percent graduation rate and white students had a 95 percent rate.

Andalusia City Schools Superintendent Ted Watson credited the numbers to the faculty and staff at all schools.

“Our high school staff is wonderful,” he said. “But I would be remiss, if I didn’t credit the teachers and administrators at the elementary and junior high schools. They set the foundation for these students, and our high school teachers carry it.”

Opp City Schools had a 90 percent graduation rate.

Poverty-stricken students had an 83 percent graduation rate; black students an 87 percent graduation rate, and white students a 91 percent rate.

“We had a class of 75,” OCS Superintendent Michael Smithart said. “With that small a class, one or two students can really change the numbers. The majority of our students who did not graduate were students who moved over the summer, and were never enrolled in another school. We have no way of knowing where they ended up. We try and locate them, but it’s very difficult.”

Smithart said the system’s goal is 100 percent without exception.

“We are proud of our steps we’ve made,” he said. “Eight years ago, we were graduating 67 percent of our students, so we are doing a lot of things right. Our teachers and staff are working to make sure that every student in our system has an opportunity to earn a diploma and its reflected in our numbers.”

Other graduation rates are:

• Florala High School: 95 percent overall. White students and poverty-stricken students had a 95 percent rate.

• Pleasant Home School: 95 percent for all students, poverty stricken and white.

• Red Level High School: 88 percent for all students; 86 percent for white students; and 83 percent for poverty-stricken students.

• Straughn High School: 95 percent overall; 95 percent for poverty-stricken and white students and 92 percent for special education students.

No data was released for African American students for the county schools.