The numbers are climbing.
In an approximately five-year period, the graduation rate at Clarke Community High School has steadily increased.
“We want the best education for kids as possible,” said Clarke Community High School Principal Kim Antisdel. “And, the data is proving that kids are staying here. They’re not dropping out.”
For the 2009-10 school year, Clarke’s graduation rate was 76.19 percent.
“That became a real concern,” Antisdel said. “It was a concern of the board. It was a concern of the community and the concern of the staff.”
Since then, officials have worked to improve the graduation rate for the school district.
There’s a before- and after-school program called Study Tables, where students can get extra help from certified staff members.
Grades are also updated by staff every two weeks. The school’s advisory program informs students of their grades every week to let them know where their grades are standing at.
The school also has a 20-day summer school program in June that’s based on credit recovery.
In the 2010-11 school year, the graduation rate went from 76.19 percent during the previous school year to 90.5 percent.
“I think it’s the result of a lot of hard work from a lot of people,” Antisdel said. “When we first saw this graduation rate in ‘09, we started a half-time, at-risk program, which has moved into a full-time, at-risk program.”
She added, the district’s juvenile court liaisons, counselors and staff have done a great job with counseling students to stay in school.
In the 2011-12 school year, the graduation rate was 89 percent, which is an approximately one percent drop from the previous year.
Antisdel said the slight percentage drop could have been from a single student not completing the requirements.
The most recently completed school year, 2012-13, had the best graduation rate Clarke has seen in years — 94.5 percent.
“We’re trying to put some things in place, and I guess, all the hard work that we have done has had benefits,” Antisdel said.
While Antisdel said she doesn’t know if the district will ever attain 100 percent graduation rate, she did add, “When we’re in the 90s, that’s just pretty darn good.”