Central Kitsap graduation rates at the top

Graduation rates in the Central Kitsap School District rank among the best in the state, according to recent statistics released by the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

In 2011, high schools in Central Kitsap graduated an average of 86.9 percent of students on-time.

Graduation rates are measured in two separate categories: on-time graduation rates and extended graduation rates.

On-time graduation accounts for the number of students in a given year who graduate at the time expected by the district. Extended graduation takes that number and adds on all graduating students who were expected to finish earlier.

The expected time of completion for high school is four years. So if a student fails to graduate within that time, but successfully graduates at a later date, the student is factored into the extended graduation rate for the year they successfully graduate.

This means that 86.9 percent of high school students in Central Kitsap graduated within four years.

The average graduation rate in Washington is 76.6 percent, meaning Central Kitsap’s graduation rates are more than 10 percent higher than the state average.

When the extended graduation numbers are added, Central Kitsap’s rate jumps to 90.1 percent, further elevating itself above the state average of 78.2 percent.

“We’re exceptionally proud of the accomplishment,” said CKSD superintendent Greg Lynch. “And to me it’s a reflection of the quality staff and administrators that we have in the Central Kitsap School District that are committed to excellence.”

More than 11,000 students attend schools in Central Kitsap, making CKSD one of the 50 largest school districts in Washington State. Among those 50 districts, Central Kitsap ranks seventh for on-time graduation and sixth for extended graduation.

“When you have a multi-high school district … you’ve got larger challenges because you’ve got more students,” Lynch said.

CKSD has three high schools: Olympic, Klahowya and Central Kitsap. All three have on-time graduation rates above 90 percent, and all three rank in the top 25 percent of similar-size schools within the 50 largest districts in Washington. Similar-size schools in this case meaning those with more than 500 students.

“We’ve got additional challenges which make our accomplishment, I think, even more noteworthy,” Lynch said. “Our demographics are a little bit different from some of the other school districts that are ahead of Central Kitsap, so the hill we have to climb is a little bit steeper.”

Despite all three high schools having graduation rates greater than 90 percent, the overall rate for the district is 86.9 percent because of alternative programs offered by the district outside of traditional paths.

These non-traditional paths include the district’s online academy and off-campus home schooling, where parents may receive resources and guidance from district staff.

Districts that beat out CKSD on the list included those with significantly different demographics than Central Kitsap, such as Bellevue, Issaquah and Lake Washington.

“Socio-economics may come into play, but there are still other schools that have a socio-economic impact very similar to ours. The demographic is the same and we want to capitalize on what they’re doing,” said Franklin Mackenzie, Central Kitsap director of secondary teaching and learning.

Central Kitsap secondary schools were also recognized by The Washington Post, as all three high schools appeared in its 2012 list of the nation’s top high schools. CKSD was one of only four multiple high school districts in Washington to have each school receive such recognition.

The Washington Post ranks the nation’s best high schools using what it calls the “Challenge Index.” The goal of the Index is to measure how well each school prepares its students for college.

The Post attempts to do this by dividing the number of college-level tests (such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate) given at a particular school by the number of graduating seniors. It does not take into account graduation rate or other factors and is meant primarily as a meter of a school’s commitment to preparing average students for college.

According to The Post, the goal for each school is to have a ratio of at least one AP test taken for every graduating senior, resulting in an index of 1.0. Central Kitsap High School ranked sixth in the state, with an index of 3.107, meaning there are more than three AP tests taken per graduating senior. Klahowya and Olympic also made the top 30 with indexes of 1.645 and 1.3 respectively.

“We have very rigorous programs, so that kids are college and career ready when they graduate,” Mackenzie said.

Both Mackenzie and Lynch said the district is doing a number of things to bring graduation rates even higher, from implementing new student programs, to improving professional development for teachers and staff.

“This is really our school district’s report card,” Lynch said, “and we’re here to make sure that students can earn a meaningful diploma.”



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