School Earns Second Highest Increase in Graduation Rate

The+Class+of+2014+awaits+their+walk+across+the+stage+at+Strathmore+Hall+May+27%2C+2014.+The+students+that+graduated+last+year+were+part+of+the+89.7+percent+of+MCPS+students+able+to+graduate+on+time.+--Mercy+Fosah

The Class of 2014 awaits their walk across the stage at Strathmore Hall May 27, 2014. The students that graduated last year were part of the 89.7 percent of MCPS students able to graduate on time. --Mercy Fosah

 

The Class of 2014 awaits their walk across the stage at Strathmore Hall May 27, 2014. The students that graduated last year were part of the 89.7 percent of MCPS students able to graduate on time. --Mercy Fosah
The Class of 2014 awaits their walk across the stage at Strathmore Hall May 27, 2014. The students that graduated last year were part of the 89.7 percent of MCPS students able to graduate on time. –Mercy Fosah

Rockville High School has es tablished itself as one of the most rapidly improving high schools in the county, having recently been ranked second in MCPS for graduation rate increases over three school years. For the 2013-14 school year, RHS had a graduation rate of 90.1 percent.

Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr released a memorandum to members of the Board of Educa tion detailing the increasing grad uation rates in MCPS for the 2013a��2014 school year, which rose 2.9 percent since 2011, to 89.7 percent in 2014, higher than the 86.4 per cent rate in the state of Maryland.

College and Career Counselor Janet Harris said, “Now students are more aware of the importance of education, whether it’s going to MC or going to a four-year school a�� because once you walk out of the doors of a high school and you have no plan, you’re sort of stuck, it is just like trying to climb out of a hole.”

RHS is ranked second in terms of graduation rate increases from the 2011-12 to the 2013-14 school year. RHS had an increase of 7.0 percent following Watkins Mill HS which had the highest in crease at 7.2.

“I’m glad that the graduation rate is up at Rockville because it reflects the work of the students,” junior Charith Wickramaratne said.

Programs like Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) help students take the neces sary steps for collegiate success. These programs have played a role in the rising graduation rates at RHS and other MCPS gradua tion rates. In late November, Dr. Starr visited RHS to see the de velopment of the ACES program within the school.

Principal Billie-Jean Bensen said, “We’re going to continue to build our ACES program and make it become a standard with in the building for the students who the program is designed for.”

In the 2013-14 school year, the growing graduation rate amongst students exemplifies the shrinking achievement gap. African American students had a 5.1 percent increase and His panic students had a 4.7 percent increase over four years. Both Hispanic and African American MCPS students have graduation a 5.8 percent increase in graduation rates, while the largest subgroup improvement was special education students, with a 7.8 percent increase.

At RHS, the counseling department makes routine checks to ensure that students are meet ing basic requirements. The scheduling process has also changed in recent years so that once students electronically enroll in a class, they immediately visit their counselor for approval. This, including the recent classroom visits by counselors, is essential to ensuring that stu dents graduate on time in June, although there is a possibility of an August graduation.

“All of the adults want students to gradu ate, so we will do everything we can to make that possible, but students have to do their part as well,” Bensen said.

Students can keep up to date with their completed and unmet requirements by looking at their transcripts and credit reports released after every semester both electronically and on their report cards. Paying attention to credits and possibly completing courses during sum mer can help ensure on-time graduation.