Graduation rates rise at MHS

Montevall High School graduation rates rose over 21 percent in the last two years (file).

Montevall High School graduation rates rose over 21 percent in the last two years (file).

By GINNY COOPER/ Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO—Montevallo High School Principal Wesley Hester credits the school’s incredible increase in graduation rates to the dedication of the teaching staff.

During the 2010-11 school year, MHS graduation rate was 68 percent, the lowest rate in the county. In the recently released data for the 2012-13 school year, the graduation rate for the school rose to 89 percent, marking a 21 percent increase over two years.

“All of the credit for what has happened here falls to the teachers,” Montevallo High Hester, who is in his first year as principal, said.

The school did not design a program specifically targeted at raising the graduation rate, but rather strove to get students actively involved in programs and build a relationship between teachers and students.

“There’s really not a program other than we’re really trying to build trust and a relationship with students, and get them involved in activities,” Hester said, citing an overall increase in student participation in clubs such as National Honors Society, Future Teachers in America and Peacemakers, which coincides with the overall increase in graduation rates.

MHS stresses skills such as better decision making and problem solving, Hester said, and the teacher make sure to address the needs students have outside of solely academics.

Though MHS graduation rates have improved drastically, Hester said the school is not satisfied with the current ratings.

“I’m not happy with where things are,” Hester said. “I’m happy we’ve made these numbers, but we’re always striving for 100 percent.”