By Brenda L. Holmes
INDIANAPOLIS — Administrators at the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township recently reported that graduation rates are on the rise for the district, for the sixth consecutive year.
“We’re excited about the efforts that were put in place to get this kind of increase,” said Jeff Butts, superintendent of the MSD of Wayne Township. “These efforts were put into place over a long period of time and we continue to benefit from them.”
The graduation rate at Ben Davis High School was 87.3 percent, an increase of 2.1 percent from 2011. The district-wide graduation rate is 87.9 percent, a 1.3 percent increase from 2011, and an increase of nearly 28 percent since ‘06.
“And this is an ongoing effort,” Butts said. “Something like this doesn’t happen over night. We’re approaching that 90 percent mark and that would be a significant benchmark for us.”
For the second year in a row, the graduation rate at Ben Davis University High School, the district’s early college high school, was 100 percent.
“The continually increasing graduation rate is a success for our entire district,” Butts said. “We know that our students’ preparation begins at whatever age they join the MSD of Wayne Township, and our teachers at all levels work hard to prepare them to enter high school ready to begin their path toward the diploma.”
Butts praised the district’s high school teachers and administrators for their work in helping students graduate.
“They have continued to demonstrate the necessary resolve to provide all of the instruction, guidance, and motivation to help the vast majority of our students get to graduation day on time,” he said.
He said when the numbers were broken down, the district learned some new things.
“Our minority students have a higher overall graduation rate,” he said. “We’ve turned our achievement gap upside down, which was a huge piece for us.
“Typically, there is a achievement gap between our Caucasian students and minority students. We’ve learned that our Caucasian males living in poverty really struggle the most. That’s an area we’re targeting now.”
One way the district will be helping more students to graduate is to introduce an early college high school model at the Area 31 Career Center.
“That will address the segment of our population that will be pursuing a technical career,” Butts said.