Ketchikan High School

Ketchikan High School

The Ketchikan School District has compiled its annual Report Card to the Public (View here.) It lays out numbers on student achievement in the 2013-14 school year. Overall, the numbers in the report card are positive.

“Certainly a huge congratulations to our students, to our teachers, to our administrators, to our school board, community and parents because Ketchikan continues to be a high-performing district,” School District Curriculum Director Shannon Sines said at Wednesday’s School Board meeting. “There is no doubt about it.”

Here’s the synopsis: test scores are up, but the four-year graduation rate is down and the drop-out rate is up.

The four-year graduation rate for 2013-14 dropped from 77 percent to 73 percent. That percentage applies to students who originally entered 9th grade during the 2010-11 school year. The number doesn’t count students who started in Ketchikan high schools after their freshman year, or students who transferred out of Ketchikan.

The five-year graduation rate is better: 84 percent.

The drop-out rate for 7th through 12th graders has increased since the 2011-12 school year, from 2.5 percent to 3.9 percent.

The drop out-rate is much higher for Fast Track students, at 32 percent, and Revilla Alternative School students, at 16 percent.

“Both of those are targeted for students who are struggling,” Superintendent Robert Boyle explained.

The drop-out rate is less than one percent at Ketchikan High School.

One of the most positive areas of the report: Standard Based Assessments. Students in third through 10th grade take those tests to measure proficiency in reading, writing and math. Scores are mostly going up.

In reading, 88 percent of students scored advanced or proficient. In writing, 81.5 percent were advanced or proficient. Both of those numbers are above the state average.

In math, 74.57 percent of students were advanced or proficient – also above the state average. But that number isn’t as strong as the district hoped.

“It’s an area of growth for us — an area of concern, because it does lag behind our scores in reading and writing,” Sines said.

Sines is recommending schools update the math curriculum ahead of schedule. Instead of waiting til 2016, she thinks it should happen next year. For two reasons: because of the weaker scores and to fit with new math standards the state adopted in 2012.

“In my opinion that’s too long to wait for math,” Sines said. “Our students are going to be assessed this year on the 2012 standards, and it’s gonna be important that we get our curriculum aligned as soon as possible.”

Sines says the district also needs to improve test scores for students with disabilities. She says responsibility for the Response to Intervention program has changed hands, from the Special Education department to the curriculum department. The hope is to free up time for Special Ed staff to focus on teacher and student improvement.