High Graduation Rate a Point of Pride

High Graduation Rate a Point of Pride
Posted on 05/31/2016

Despite one of the worst records in the country for funding public education, the state of Texas is right at the top when examining four-year graduation rates among the 50 states.

According to figures released by the National Center for Education Statistics, Texas sits at or near the top of the list for four-year graduation rates of Hispanic, black and white students. Overall, its graduation rate of 88.3 percent for 2013-14 (the most recent figures available) places Texas fifth in the country, behind Iowa, Nebraska, New Jersey and Wisconsin.

Of course, statistics like this come readily to mind this time of year as we celebrate coast-to-coast with graduates of the Class of 2016. Locally, more than 580 students will graduate from Boerne Academy, Champion High School and Boerne High School this week. These are outstanding kids, many of whom have spent their entire educational years in Boerne schools, some of whom joined us along the way, all of whom bring us a measure of pride that we share with their families and friends.

Our graduation rate in Boerne ISD going back to 2010 has hovered in the 98.5-99.0 percent range, well above the state average. Leading up to the recent bond election, I made presentations to more than 50 groups throughout the district. Those of you who attended those meetings know I shared a great deal of information about our schools. The one statistic I quoted that received applause each time, without fail, was this notation about how successful our students are at staying in school and graduating on time.

There are many factors that go into achieving – and sustaining – a high graduation rate. First and foremost, our students and their families clearly place a premium on earning a high school diploma. Whatever their path following graduation – college, vocational school, military, the job market – our students understand that a high school diploma is the cornerstone of their futures.

Another major factor in our high graduation rate is our teachers. Throughout their time in Boerne ISD schools, our students have been taught by the best teachers in the state. These women and men are dedicated to children and to seeing them advance successfully through the public education system.

If it were possible to shadow a teacher for just one day, you would have to get up early in the morning, be prepared to be on your feet for hours on end, and work into the evening grading papers, holding online tutoring sessions, sponsoring organizations and the myriad other activities that make up an educator's day. Our dedicated teachers play a big role in our students' successful march to their diplomas.

We also have programs like Boerne Academy that help struggling students stay in school while addressing unique personal circumstances they may be facing. This growing program will get a tremendous boost when it is able to expand into the repurposed Fabra campus in a couple of years. That is one of the elements of the recently approved 2016 bond about which I am most excited.

I believe it is also true that the Boerne and Fair Oaks communities are successful, can-do communities. Students are influenced by that success in ways big and small. I am convinced that our success rate in on-time graduation is directly related to the atmosphere of opportunity and optimism that permeates our communities.

Congratulations to the Class of 2016. We celebrate your achievement and look forward to your ongoing success in future endeavors.

Boerne ISD superintendent David Stelmazewski is an education leader who has served for more than 40 years as teacher, coach and administrator in Illinois and Texas public schools.

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