Archive for Thursday, January 15, 2004

High school considers reporting change

January 15, 2004

Students who leave high school and enroll in an alternative education program or earn their general equivalency degrees aren't counted as dropouts at most schools, Basehor-Linwood High School administrators said.

This hasn't always been the case at the high school, where some students who enrolled in another program were counted as drop outs, effectively lowering the graduation rate, administrators told the Basehor-Linwood School Board during its meeting Monday, Jan. 12.

The high school's graduation rate became an issue of discussion during the October meeting of the Basehor-Linwood Advisory Council, a group of residents who meet with school officials periodically to discuss educational issues.

There was no decision to change the high school's reporting procedure Monday night, but administrators said they will study the issue further and it could be an item of consideration for the future.

During the October advisory council meeting, members asked why the graduation rate isn't higher. The questions came after residents read the high school's building report; the Kansas Department of Education published building reports for each school in the state in 2003.

In turn, school district administrators said they would study the problem, most specifically the reporting procedure for totaling dropout, transfer and enrollment rates, which they hinted could be the source of the problem.

Monday night, BLHS principal Steve Blankenship and assistant principal Sandy Guidry told board members the graduation rates are skewered because of reporting snafus.

"Most schools were not counting GED's as dropouts," Blankenship said.

When students drop out of the high school, administrators encourage them to enroll in alternative programs or a trade school, Blankenship said. The school keeps close tabs on whether students enroll in another program, he added.

By studying numbers more closely, administrators learned the graduation figures are lower because of the reporting procedure; the decision to change the reporting procedure is at the discretion of the school district, Guidry said.

"Changing the way we do it here, there's nothing that's not kosher," Guidry said.

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