West Bloomfield's 4-Year Graduation Rate Looks Positive
Schools deal with more-rigorous standards to graduate while alternative education programs help lower dropout rate.
Updated: 5:54 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25 to correct name of Oakland Opportunity Academy.
The four-year graduation rates for students at West Bloomfield High School outpace the state by more than 15 percent, according to data released last week by the Michigan Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI).
WBHS graduated 431 students last year in its four-year cohort, a rate of 92.09 percent. The dropout rate was 4.49 percent.
Students are divided into "cohorts"—a combination of students who began ninth grade in the district four years prior, and including students who transferred in or our within the four year period. So for 2012 graduates, the cohort includes students who began high school at WBHS in 2008, or transferred into the district before 2012 graduation.
The state also tracks students who were off track for four-year graduation but continuing their education, those who graduated or dropped out past the four-year mark, and those who completed their GED or reached the maximum special education age.
Among those who started ninth grade for the first time at West Bloomfield in 2008, 60 did not graduate with the high school class. Meanwhile, Oakland Opportunity Academy, the district's diploma/Associates Degree program, graduated 51 students last year.
WBHS Principal Tom Shelton said that the high graduation rate is cited by the district's numerous programs targeted to at-risk students, including Oakland Early College and the Oakland Schools program Widening Advancements for Youth (WAY) online classes.
“We're trying to focus on catching those (at-risk) kids before they fall into a trap of needing extra credits to graduate on time, Shelton said.” “I think in recent years, we've had to become a little more proactive and creative in our approach to that ... as students have faced increasingly tougher requirements to graduate in the first place.”
How did the West Bloomfield School District compare with others nearby?
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Note: This chart was edited to correct an error on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 11:42 a.m.
Merit Curriculum working, said state superintendent
Across Michigan, four-year graduation rates for students expected to graduate last spring increased to 76.24 percent, up 1.9 percent from the 2011 rate of 74.33.
“These numbers reflect the highest rates we have seen since we started reporting the data using a cohort methodology,” said CEPI director Thomas Howell. “This methodology allows us to track individual students from the first time they enroll as ninth-graders and has resulted in a more accurate measure of high school success for our students.”
More than 53 percent of Michigan’s school districts saw higher graduation rates. The largest increase in graduation rates throughout a five-year period were seen in several racial and ethnic groups. According to the report, rates for black students reached 59.93 percent last year, an increase of 3.64 percent since 2008. Hispanic student rates were at 64.3 percent, up 3.97 percent. This year’s rate reflects that 73.52 percent of multiracial students graduated in four years, increasing the annual rate by 3.52 percent since 2008.
“This is more positive news for Michigan public schools,” said state superintendent Mike Flanagan. “This is reflective of how our teachers and students are succeeding with the rigorous Michigan Merit Curriculum and being better prepared to continue Michigan’s economic comeback. We must stay on this positive course and keep our standards high and Michigan Merit Curriculum intact.”
For more information about West Bloomfield student enrollment, including students who stayed in school longer to earn a diploma in five or six years, visit mischooldata.org.