High school graduation rate rises
Recent statistics show more students graduating in Leavenworth County
While some area schools are experiencing graduation rates well below the state average, the graduation rates at Basehor-Linwood High School and other schools in Leavenworth County are thriving.
According to recent survey released by the Kansas Action for Children Inc., the average graduation rate for Leavenworth County schools is 84.5 percent, well above the state average of 81.8 percent.
By contrast, the graduation average for Wyandotte County is 67.3 percent.
Although the graduation rates for this year at Basehor-Linwood are not yet determined, Acting Superintendent Cal Cormack said he expects the average of the district to be on par or higher than the state's.
"In most cases we tend to run above the state average," Cormack said.
For the past three years, the graduation rates at the high school have been consistently rising. Since a decline in rates in 1997, the district has steadily climbed topping off at 88.5 percent last year.
Cormack said one of the reasons the Basehor-Linwood School District has maintained a higher graduation rate is the amount of extracurricular activities the high school offers.
"The four-year experience has to be meaningful enough that you don't entertain the notion of dropping out," Cormack said. "It's the relevance of the educational experience as a whole. I would say that with a school of our size, kids are able to participate in activities and I think that is an important part of it."
While the ultimate goal of any school district is to graduate students, the Basehor-Linwood School District has been encouraging students to pursue the Regents curriculum of study.
The Regents curriculum is a guideline of classes for students to enroll in during their four years in high school. Although the curriculum is not mandatory, it is recommended by state colleges to students wanting to attend college.
"Each year we have an increased amount of students taking the Regents curriculum," Cormack said. "We believe that prepares the students very well for the rigors of a college classroom."
Cormack said one of the reasons there is a difference between the graduation rates of Leavenworth and Wyandotte County has to do with community.
"I don't think it is necessarily a function of the schools," Cormack said. "Schools tend to reflect the communities that they serve. Dealing in Wyandotte County, I think you would have a higher incidence of dealing with families that are economically disadvantaged. There may or may not be as much educational opportunity.
In this community, the expectation is graduating from high school is considered to be a normal process of maturing and assuming responsibility.
"I think there are some very fine schools in Wyandotte County. I think they are working extremely hard, but I think their task is more difficult because they have more factors to deal with," Cormack added.
Although the school district can never fully eliminate students who choose to drop out, Cormack said the district is looking into a drop out recovery program that would allow students to complete graduation requirements without getting a General Equivalency Diploma.
The district does not currently have the program, although Cormack said he would like to see one instituted in the future.