Vincent meets AYP goals with graduation rate

Published 3:21 pm Friday, August 15, 2008

Gary Minnick, Vincent Middle/High School principal, said the fact his school met all their Adequate Yearly Progress goals this year is a sign the 500-student school is moving forward. Last year, VHMS did not meet its AYP goals.

However, Minnick said it’s important not to focus too much on the numbers.

“Last year, we met all our AYP goals except for graduation rates, which we only missed by one student,” Minnick said. “This year, we made all our goals, including graduation rates, which we made by one student.”

Minnick said sometimes the graduation rate doesn’t tell the whole story.

“Students that don’t drop out but don’t pass the required number of graduation tests are counted against our graduation rate,” he said. “Students that move away and we don’t know where they are count against us. It takes some students more than four years to graduate, but that still counts against us.”

Sometimes special education students count against the graduation rate as well. According to the federal government, schools cannot expect special education students to perform at the same level as other students. Schools come up with individualized education plans for special education students, and if those students complete their individual plans, they’re fine by federal standards. However, if the special education students have not performed to state standards, they still count against the graduation rate, Minnick said.

“The federal government does not define what a graduate is. The state does,” he said. “(The students) do everything expected of them by law, and they still count against the graduation rates.”

Vincent’s graduation rate this year was 77 percent. The state standard is 90 percent, but Vincent passed that AYP goal because there was an improvement over last year.

Many schools don’t meet the 90 percent standard but pass AYP goals because of improvement, Minnick said.

Minnick said, in his opinion, students’ ability to get a GED instead of a high school degree hinders the schools’ ability to keep students.

“In my personal opinion, nobody should be able to get a GED until 18 or even 21, because they’re giving them incentive to drop out,” he said. “They can drop out and go to work faster.”