News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 14, 2013

Vigo posts strong graduation numbers

93.4 percent graduate; Vigo higher than state average

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Vigo County School Corp.’s 2012 graduation rate is higher than first indicated in March, according to a release Monday from the Indiana Department of Education.

The 2012 graduation rate is 93.4 percent, higher than a 92.2 percent graduation rate first indicated in March.

Indiana’s statewide 2012 graduation rate was 88.38 percent, up from 86.61 percent in 2011. The federal rate was 87 percent.

Superintendent Danny Tanoos said the DOE revised its rates after receiving information statewide from school corporations. Vigo County was among corporations that appealed its graduation rates, he said.

“When we started to really drill down into each school’s information and in meeting with our schools’ principals, it looked like in some cases it did not look correct in terms of percentage. We thought it was higher,” Tanoos said.

“We began to look at specific student scores and after looking at the scores, we did not think they were consistent with what we averaged the schools’ graduation rates as opposed to what was posted by the Indiana Department of Education,” Tanoos said.

Stacy Mason, executive director of secondary education, said last year marked the fourth year the state used the “cohort system” to track graduations. That system tracks students from 9th grade to senior graduation in four years.

The federal government required states to use the cohort system to report a uniform, comparable and accurate graduation rate.

“Schools and principals have been able to really drill down and understand what information the state wants in tracking those students and that is one reason why you see that steady increase in the graduation rate,” Mason said. “We understand the tracking process a little better.”

The Indiana Department of Education reported it posted the state and federal graduations rates because of the difference between Indiana and federal reporting requirements. “Because the federal rate exempts fewer students from the cohort, the federal graduation rate is lower than the Indiana rate,” the DOE stated. It is the first year Indiana’s DOE has reported the federal rate.

Tanoos said the school corporation has placed a “tremendous emphasis” on curriculum and instruction, especially in core areas of reading, writing and math, with continuous in-service updates for staff.

Vigo County’s most populous high school — Terre Haute North Vigo High School — had a 2012 graduation rate of 94.4 percent. The school had 389 graduates, out of 412 that started their high school career four years earlier.

The school had a 90.2 percent graduation rate in 2011 and 90 percent in 2010. It was 88.3 percent in 2009.

Terre Haute South Vigo High School had a 2012 graduation rate of 93.6 percent, with 337 graduates, out of 360. The school’s 2011 graduate rate was 87.9 percent and was 86.2 percent in 2010. The 2009 graduation rate was 87.4 percent.

The highest high school graduation rate — 97.4 percent — was made at West Vigo High School. However, West Vigo has a much lower student count than Terre Haute North or Terre Haute South.

West Vigo High School had 147 students graduating out of 151. The school’s 2011 graduation rate was 92.2 percent and 90.9 percent in 2010. The school’s 2009 graduation rate was 85.7 percent.

For the district’s two alternative high schools, Booker T. Washington had a 2012 graduation rate of 89.5 percent, with 17 students graduating, out of 19 starting. The 2011 graduation rate was 90.9 percent. The 2010 graduation rate was 40 percent and 78.4 percent in 2009.

McLean High School had a 2012 graduation rate of 69.8 percent, with 30 graduating, out of 43 starting. The school’s graduation rate in 2011 was 67.8 percent; 51.3 percent in 2010; and 40 percent in 2009.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.