Update on the HS Graduation Outcome Team

bots with teacher

Research shows that relationships in the family, school, and community impact high school grades and graduation (Zaff et al., 2017). In 2017, 3,127 RCSD students ages 13 years and older participated in the annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey (out of an enrollment of 7,743 students). The good news is that most students reported having support in their families: 83% said that in their families there are clear rules about what the child can and cannot do, 79% said their family gives them help and support when they need it, and 77% said they know one or more adults other than their parents they can go to discuss important questions about their life. However, only 63% of students said they get a lot of encouragement at school and only 51% of students said that they feel like they matter to people in their community.

When we look at these numbers and see what’s happening in our schools we know there is a direct correlation to education outcomes. In our High School Graduation Outcome Team, we are taking a deeper dive into attendance as a factor in credit attainment and graduation.

Even attendance in the first weeks of the 9th grade year is related to whether students will eventually graduate (Ritter, 2015). Higher attendance is associated with individual attitudes about oneself as a student and toward school (Green et al., 2012; Parr & Bovitz, 2015), a positive school climate (Hendron & Kearney, 2016; Van Eck et al., 2017), and parental involvement (Lenhoff & Pogodzinski, 2018).

In addition to increasing attendance, research suggests 9th grade credit attainment can be improved by making school-level changes, including: increasing the rigor of academic instruction, providing academic supports, reducing the number of classes students are enrolled in, reducing the number of transitions throughout the day, and increasing the time spent in each class (Ritter, 2015). Being on track with credits at the end of 9th grade is associated with 11th grade GPA, high school graduation, college enrollment, and college persistence past the first year (UChicago Consortium on School Research, 2017).

During our next High School Graduation Outcome Team meeting, we will look at community navigator models and discuss what a community engagement model for reducing chronic absence might look like.