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Report tracks graduates after high school

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More than half of the Class of 2011 at Grant County High School and nearly three-fourths at Williamstown High School enrolled in college after graduation.
The statistics were recently released as part of the Kentucky High School Feedback Report on College Going by the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics.
The report focuses on high school graduates from the 2010-11 school year.
Of 236 Grant County High School graduates, 52.1 percent went on to college, compared with the state average of 60.2 percent.
“This was up 3.5 percent from the previous year,” said Jennifer Wright, Grant County Schools assistant superintendent. “Our Career and Technical center was completed a year later, with the class of 2011-2012 being the first to take classes, so we fully expect this number to continue to rise.”
Of 55 Williamstown High School graduates, 72.7 percent went on to college.
“Most careers in the 21st Century demand students to have some post-secondary education and it is our hope that students are able to continue their education after high school in order to fulfill their career goals,” said Misty Middleton, Williamstown Independent Schools assistant superintendent.
The report also tracks where local graduates went to college, how they fared during their first year and if they returned to school for their second year.
Of the GCHS graduates who did go on to college, 41.1 percent had a cumulative grade-point-average of 3.0 or higher during their first year.
Thirty-three percent of graduates had a GPA between 2.0 and 2.99 while 25.6 percent earned a GPA of less than 2.0.
Of the WHS graduates who did go on to college, 55.9 percent had a cumulative grade-point-average of 3.0 or higher during their first year.
Seventeen percent of graduates had a GPA between 2.0 and 2.99 while 26.5 percent earned a GPA of less than 2.0.
“Once we receive more data and our trend data shows our graduates are persisting then we know we are doing something right,” Middleton said. “If the trend data shows the opposite, we will need to reflect and determine if there are additional strategies we need to set in place that would help current students fulfill their goals for the future.”
Wright said that the Grant County Career and Technical Center has proven to help the district emphasize to students that post-secondary education is critical to their future.
“Our district, beginning at the elementary level, has career conversations with students to make them more aware of their future at an earlier age,” she said. “At the middle school level, our high school counselors meet with students to discuss career pathways and opportunities they have at the high school. Currently, Grant County High School offers 120 Dual Credits and 14 Nationally Recognized Industry Certifications in 11 different career fields. This means students could leave the high school with one year of college already completed and/or a certification to go directly into the workforce or attend a technical college.”
Eighty-one of the 120 GCHS graduates who went on to college returned for their second year.
Thirty of the 62 WHS graduates who went on to college returned for their second year.
Middleton said it would be helpful if the report shared the reasons, such as grades or finances, that students not enrolling for a second year.  
“We have had graduates go straight into the workforce and be very successful,” she said. “We have individuals who attend technical schools for more hands-on training and students who attend four-year institutions. The key is helping students find the right path for their future plans.”
The discussion about college and career readiness is beginning even earlier than before at the elementary level, said Wright.
At Grant County Middle School, counselors get students started on Individual Learning Plans beginning in the sixth grade to help students realize the types of careers they are interested in pursuing and showing them the type of post-secondary education they will need.
Operation Preparation at the 8th grade level allows an adult to conference with students on their goals for high school and lay out the needed steps for reaching those goals.
Through individual scheduling at GCHS, Wright said the school works to make sure students are in the classes needed to make them college and/or career ready.  
Operation Preparation is also held with high school students, along with job shadowing, ACT preparation activities, early college initiatives and opportunities to visit colleges during the school year.
“The entire district is focused on working to make our classes focused at the level of rigor needed in order for our students to meet the benchmarks on the ACT,” Wright said. “Last year, Grant County High School had an accountability score of 73.8 percent of students who were College and/or Career Ready. This compares to 60.7 percent at the state. As a Proficient high school, they will continue to work to make it possible for every student to leave ready for the real world.”
Advising is the main way the Williamstown Independent district encourages and provides students with necessary knowledge for their future, said Middleton.  
“Our small size allows for more individual attention and guidance,” she said. “In fact, we have often wondered if this hurts students when they venture off to college and don’t have the close-knit school setting they are accustomed to. We welcome any former graduates to give us feedback on their readiness for college or work. We can always use the information to strengthen current practices or invest in new ones. We want to fulfill our mission of having all students prepared for college or career.”

INFO BOX:

The top five colleges and universities Class of 2011 Grant County High School students attended included Northern Kentucky University (28), Gateway Community and Technical College (22), Eastern Kentucky University (17), the University of Kentucky (14) and Morehead State University (7).

The top five colleges and universities Class of 2011 Williamstown High School students attended included Northern Kentucky University (10), Eastern Kentucky University (7), the University of Kentucky (6), Morehead State University (3) and Gateway Community and Technical College (3).