“College is going to be an adventure.”
--Alexandra, Englewood High School senior and soon-to-be high school graduate
Dear Englewood Schools Community,
Spring semester is a special time for our seniors, who are on the cusp of one of the most exciting chapters of their lives. This spring, Alexandra, a finalist for the Daniels Fund Scholarship, will don her cap and gown, along with hundreds of other Englewood Schools students, and take to the commencement stage to receive her high school diploma. She will then embark on an adventure indeed – an adventure into the world of higher education, where she will explore ideas and theories and take courses in politics, business, and law.
I am proud to say that Englewood Schools continues to increase the number of high school students graduating each year. Newly released data from the Colorado Department of Education shows Englewood Schools posted a 6.5% increase in its four-year, on-time graduation rate, as well as a 1% decrease in its dropout rate from 2015 to 2016. The four-year graduation rate is calculated based on students who graduate from high school within four years of entering ninth grade. The state also reports three-year graduation rates for students who graduate early and five, six and seven-year graduation rates for students who require additional time to earn a diploma.
From 2015 to 2016, we have seen the graduation rates of both of our high schools increase. Englewood High School’s four-year rate increased 7.2%, from 68.4% to 75.6%, while 87.6% earned a diploma or GED within seven years. Colorado’s Finest High School of Choice, an alternative high school that offers students from across the metro area an alternative to the traditional high school setting, increased its graduation rate by 3.5%, from 20.5% in 2015 to 23.5% in 2016, and 56.4% of students earned a diploma or GED within seven years. The state combines the rates of both EHS and CFHSC to determine our overall four-year, on-time graduation rate of 53.8%, an increase from 46.9% in 2015.
This is very exciting news for our schools and students and a huge testament to the hard work of our teachers and school staff. The rise in our graduation rate is the result of a comprehensive effort to provide our students with multiple ways to prepare for their futures.
Connecting Students with their Passions
One of the areas we have strengthened in recent years is connecting our students with their passions and interests and exposing them to different career opportunities. Our Career and Technical Education (CTE) program has added high-interest programs such as Digital Audio Production, a Sustainable Agriculture and Green Energy (SAGE) program, Culinary Arts and Hospitality, and Cosmetology. We are helping our students to explore different careers and plan for their futures by offering them job shadow opportunities, college campus visits and experiences to shape their career goals and paths early on.
Post-secondary readiness efforts begin for students in seventh grade when students are introduced to Individual Career and Academic Planning, or ICAP. Our goal is to begin this work as early as elementary school in the future.
Providing Students with Rigorous and Challenging Courses
Research shows that students who take concurrent enrollment courses, which allow students to take college level classes and earn college credit while still in high school, are more likely to attend a higher education institution after high school. At Englewood Schools, all students in grades 9-12 have the opportunity to enroll in concurrent courses, and more students than ever are taking advantage of this opportunity.
Englewood Schools offers rigorous and challenging CTE, Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors courses that are relevant to our kids and help them develop their future goals. Additionally, students participate in AVID (Advanced Via Individual Determination), a program that helps prepare students for success in high school, college and a career by developing critical thinking skills and behaviors that help students achieve their goals.
Building Strong Relationships
In recent years, Englewood Schools has added counselors and advisors to support our students, not only academically, but with their college and career development and with social and emotional support. I was encouraged to hear that Alexandra credits the support she received from her advisors and AVID counselor during high school to helping her refine her goals and navigate the opportunities available to her.
Helping Students get Back on Track
We have several ways to help struggling students get back on track. We offer credit recovery programs, and our schools partner with Colorado Youth for a Change to help students who might be struggling or thinking about dropping out of school to stay engaged and earn their high school diploma.
I expect the number of students who graduate from Englewood Schools to continue to increase year on year. While much work has been done to build this tremendous momentum, we have hard work ahead of us. Our goal is for EVERY Englewood Schools student to graduate prepared for college and/or a career.
I look forward to celebrating Alexandra, who plans to attend the University of Denver in the fall, and the hundreds of other Englewood Schools students who will join her in graduating high school this spring.
Dr. Wendy Rubin