Schools receive good marks

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Last year, more public high school students than ever received a diploma in Shelby County.

Both the Shelby County and Alabaster City school systems reported graduation rate increases in 2014. Shelby County Schools’ graduation rate increased 6 percent over a two-year period from 89 percent in 2012 to 96 percent in 2014.

Two county schools, in particular, saw marked improvement: Montevallo High, which saw a 20 percent increase to 94 percent, and Vincent High, which saw a 9 percent increase in a single year to 91 percent.

Alabaster City Schools, now in its third year of operation, saw its graduation rate rise from 89 percent in 2013 to 97 percent in 2014.

That is great news for all Shelby County residents, even if they are childless or their children attend private or home schools.

Strong public schools are important to any community. First and foremost, they help create productive citizens and a well-educated workforce. Good public schools also help attract high-quality employers and increase property values.

Shelby County remains one of the fastest growing counties in the state, and its population has now passed 204,000, according to the latest U.S. Census report. About a quarter of those residents are under the age of 18, and many attend one of the four public school systems in our county.

Although Shelby County’s population growth has slowed compared to the 1990s and 2000s, families and businesses continue to relocate to our county. Our high quality-of-life, strong schools and competitive home prices contribute to that continued growth.

Our schools will have to stay strong in order for Shelby County to continue to rank among the best in the state.

Graduation rates do not determine a public school is “good.” Many factors influence a school’s strength, and this is only one piece of that puzzle. Graduation rates are, however, an important indicator of a school system’s health, especially when considered among our schools’ other strengths.

We at the Shelby County Reporter would like to congratulate our local schools for their hard work in increasing the graduation rate.

Supporting local schools is one of the best investments we can make in our county.