Superintendent James F. Scully announced last month that the four-year graduation rate of Haverhill High School has increased to the highest rate it has been since the state began calculating graduation rates in 2006.
In 2013, Haverhill High School graduated more than 75.3% of the students that entered as ninth graders in 2009-2010.
This is an increase of 4.2% from the 2012 graduation rate of 71.1%. The four-year graduation rate reflects the percentage of an incoming freshmen class that graduates in the traditional four years. This cohort of students was monitored for the past four years. The final figure includes both students who left the district and entered the district within this cohort.
Equally important to this increase in the graduation rate is the decline in Haverhill High School’s dropout rate. The number of students who dropped out of Haverhill High School declined from 5.6% in 2012, to 4.7% in 2013. This reflects a decline of .9%; the lowest dropout rate the school has had in the past decade.
The Patrick Administration and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education published a press release on January 27, 2014, stating: “Four-year Graduation Rate Improves for 7th Consecutive Year; Strong Improvements seen for students in Urban District and Hispanic Students; Annual Dropout Rate Falls for 5th Straight Year.” Superintendent Scully is pleased that Haverhill shares in the upward trend.
Haverhill High School made gains across many categories, and is up 6.5% from the first reported graduation rate of 68.8% in 2006. Through the hard work and dedication of school leaders and educators, more students are graduating on time and fewer students are dropping out.
Haverhill High School has seen tremendous gains in the four-year graduation rate of English Language Learners (ELL). ELL students had the highest gain in the school with 65% of the subgroup graduating in 2013 compared to 41.5% in 2012. This gain of 23.5% placed the Haverhill High School ELL population above the state. The four-year graduation rate of ELL students across the state was 63.5% in 2013, 1.5% lower than Haverhill High School. Similarly, the Asian subgroup at Haverhill High School surpassed the state’s Asian subgroup. In 2013, Haverhill graduated 92.3% of Asian students within four years and the state graduated 90.6% of Asian students within the traditional timeframe.
Haverhill High School has also seen positive momentum in Hispanic, Low-Income, and African American subgroups. Approximately, 64.3% of Hispanic students graduated in 2013 compared to 45.5% in 2012. This was an increase of 19% from the previous year. Low-income students saw a gain of 11%, moving from 53% in 2012 to 64.3% in 2013. This subgroup was followed by African Americans who had a gain of 7.6% from 63.2% in 2012 to 70.8% in 2013.
The Superintendent of Schools, along with district administration commend the work of numerous grant-funded programs that have supported students who might have dropped out due to economic, academic, or family issues, and inspired them to graduate on time. Interim Principal Beth Kitsos has identified the implementation of night school, credit recovery through computer based learning, and the YES program as contributing to the positive gains experienced at Haverhill High School.
Each program targets a specific group of students who have unique situations, yet aspire to graduate with a high school diploma. These grant-funded programs give students who would not have the chance of graduating, the opportunity to achieve a high school degree through personalized learning environments and increased connections with educators and guidance staff.
Likewise, the development and implementation of the Freshmen Academy has contributed to the positive gains experienced at Haverhill High School. Historically, freshmen and sophomore years have proved the most challenging for some students. The Freshmen Academy was developed to keep cohorts of students together with a team of teachers who focus on the individual needs of each student through the development of personalized learning activities, increased parent outreach, and collaboration of teacher teams, guidance, and support staff.
Haverhill High School strives to provide all students with a rigorous academic curriculum that aligns with 21st century learning expectations. This focus has resulted in an increase in student achievement at the high school and has greatly contributed to the successes experienced by the increasing number of Haverhill High School graduates.