By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
The Nebraska high school graduation rate has hit a record high, nearly reaching the state goal of 90 percent. Chase County Schools (CCS) has passed that goal.
According to information released by the Nebraska Department of Education last Friday, 89.5 percent of Nebraska seniors graduated in 2014, compared to 88.5 percent in 2013.
CCS graduated 91.94 percent in 2014, with 57 students graduating. That was compared to 87.88 percent in 2013, with 29 graduating.
CCS Secondary Principal Mike Sorensen noted that the school currently has one student in the extended five-year program and one in the extended six-year program at Wellington School.
Nebraska Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt noted that the state’s six-year graduation rate topped the state goal with 91.1 percent of all high school seniors graduating within six years.
Sorensen said of CCS’s graduation rate, “It’s nice we’re above the state average but what does that really mean? For our size we should be better than that (91.94 percent).”
He said, “We have to keep working hard like we’ve been doing. Our teachers do everything they can to make kids successful.”
Yes, Sorensen said, some students drop out. One student moved to CCS from another district and was behind on his credit hours. He quit school when he was 18.
“The teachers do everything they can for kids but sometimes reaching unmotivated kids is hard and they end up going another year” or dropping out,” he said.
However, Sorensen pointed to a fifth year student who will graduate at semester in December with an outstanding GPA. She transferred to CCS from a school that wasn’t as academically challenging as CCS.
Sorensen said the school will continue to strive to graduate all students.
For the first time, the Department of Education released the fact that 65 Nebraska school districts graduated 100 percent of their seniors in four years and 69 districts graduated all seniors in six years.
The new graduation data as well as dropout rates have been added to the State of the Schools Report and are available at http://www.education.ne.gov/ or http://reportcard.education.ne.gov.
Website gives CCS an A-
A website review of high schools across the nation and in Nebraska has given CCS an A- and ranked it seventh in Nebraska high schools.
However, Sorensen said, “I don’t place much stock in it.”
Niche.com based the ranking on graduation rate, average ACT scores, teacher-to-student ration and percentage of free and reduced lunch participants, as well as reviews posted by viewers.
Most categories in the ranking review for CCS received just two comments on things such as the food, the buses and safety.
CCS received a total of 20 reviews or comments.
“I looked at our comments,” Sorensen said. “That’s nice but it doesn’t hold a lot of validity to it.”
Niche is a review of elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools, mainly used by people relocating to different cities and interested in what educational opportunities are available.