HS Grad Rates Flawed

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A Message from the Superintendent:


At our school board meeting on Thursday, January 9th, I shared my concerns about the Indiana Department of Education’s current process for determining graduation rates. Additionally, I asserted my belief that the graduation rate that was publicized for Pike High School was inaccurate. As the Superintendent of Schools, I am unwilling to allow a flawed system to impact our high school, our district, and most importantly, our community.

There are several factors outside of our control that impact our graduation rate. For example, if a student withdraws from Pike High School and moves to another country, that student will be counted as a drop out unless we receive a transcript request. Our exceptional learners are counted as drop outs after 4 years even though we provide services until they are 22 years old. I was particularly frustrated by a situation we encountered this year, when students who left Pike High School to participate in another accredited opportunity such as Job Corp were considered drop outs and counted against our 2019 graduation rate even though we could prove they received an Indiana Diploma.

The scenarios listed above result in an inaccurate and unfair representation of Pike High School’s graduation rate. It is unacceptable to take a 93% graduation rate and reduce it to 87% because of a flawed process. Yet, in my correspondence with the Indiana Department of Education officials responsible for overseeing School Accountability, it has become clear that they are more concerned with enforcing baseless bureaucratic edicts and punishing clerical errors than providing support and ensuring that the graduation rates they assign accurately reflect the success of Indiana schools and communities. It is even more troubling that the complex process being arbitrarily utilized discriminates against students who need alternative options to receive a high school diploma and will invariably be more difficult for schools with higher mobility rates.

I will continue to work to ensure this flawed practice is corrected and advocate for the restoration of our rightful graduation rate. I have contacted Senator Ford to share my concerns and plan to ask our Board to pass a resolution regarding this issue at their next meeting. Although the Indiana Department of Education may view a high school’s graduation rate as an approximation, parents, community members, and educators who work in the field know that it is an important piece of data that affects everything from the letter grades with which we are labeled to the ways in which our schools are viewed by potential residents. It is important to me that you know that I am proud of our students’ hard work and Pike High School’s success. For that reason, I will not stand by as it is artificially diminished for arbitrary reasons.


- Dr. Flora Reichanadter

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