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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student


Graduation rates rise in Ind.

The graduation rate rose to 86 percent for Indiana, one of sixteen states to be at or above 85 percent, according to four-year high school graduation rates for 2011-2012 released by the U.S. Department of Education on Nov. 27.

This is an improvement from 2010-2011 when just nine states reached 85 percent.  Indiana has shown steady improvement through the years, increasing consistently from 76 percent back in 2006.

The Monroe County Community School Corporation has beaten the state percentage with a graduation rate of 87 percent for 2011-12, rising from 80 percent in 2006.

Janice Bergeson, director of secondary education at MCCSC, credited the school system’s success to a number of factors, including looking beyond the diploma.

“For the last several years, we’ve focused on not only the graduation rates but the success of our students,” Bergeson said. “We’ve looked at our students and identified what we want them to know.”

Bergeson said information retention for students is key in getting them to a suitable level of education.

“We focused not only on how they learned the material today, but how they will keep and apply this information while moving forward,” she said.

One way MCCSC facilitated this retention was with the aid of reading specialists and interventionists, teachers designated to getting struggling students back on track.

Bergeson said MCCSC hired specific teachers in the math and English departments for each school.

“Each building is different, and each teacher uses different methods, but they all focus on comprehension,” Bergeson said. “Many of the teachers go between classrooms in the building, working with students in small groups. We’ve found that to be effective.”

Bergeson also said budget cuts have been a difficult hurdle to cross in keeping graduation rates up.

“We’re fortunate in MCCSC that our referendum passed a couple of years ago to give more money to schools,” she said. “That has really made this possible, so thank you to Monroe County.”

Bergeson said she has seen improvements in all schools and grades.

“Success is more than just graduates, but I’m pleased with our growth,” she said. “Of course, if you’re not at 100 percent graduation, you have places you can improve.”
Follow reporter Stephen Kroll on Twitter @stephenkroll1.

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