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Letcher, Jenkins schools work on graduation rates



While high school graduation rates are up in Letcher County, school administrators in both the county and Jenkins Independent systems are looking at ways to get the rates up even more.

“Many factors influence graduation rate,” said Jenkins Independent Supt. Debbie Watts. “Through early interventions, many students will catch up and no longer need intense academic assistance. For others, life circumstances will contribute to a loss of focus on graduation and a desire to leave school early. Also, families move due to loss of jobs and relocate to other areas.”

The percentage of students graduating from Letcher County Central High School has increased by more than 11 percent in the last five years. Jenkins High School ranked above the national graduation rate in 2010.

Based on 2010 date, the state graduation rate is 77.2 percent and the national graduation rate is 74.7 percent.

The graduation rate for Jenkins High School in 2010 was 78.4 percent and LCCHS’s rate was 65.5 percent.

The graduation rate is based on the number of freshmen on the first day of school, the number of students in that sophomore class and the number of seniors who are graduated.

In 2012, 76.6 percent of the LCCHS senior class were graduated and 74.2 percent were graduated in 2011. It was 68.9 percent in 2009 and 65.8 percent in 2008.

LCCHS Principal Stephen Boggs projects the graduation rate for the LCCHS class of 2013 to be 82 percent.

He said enabling students to graduate and be career or college ready is a priority of his faculty and staff.

“We want to help them find a pathway to their own successful life,” said Boggs. “That’s a total school effort.”

In 2008, the JHS graduation rate was 71.7 percent and in 2009 it was 60.4. In 2011, it was 65.2 and 69.9 percent were graduated in 2012.

“Jenkins Independent is committed to helping each student become college and career ready, to graduate high school and to create academic foundations that allow all students to continue career paths that ensure good jobs in their futures,” she said. “Many school programs have been put in place to ensure a safe place for learning that values the academic success of each child.”

Administrators at both high schools have implemented strategies to increase the graduation rate and assist students in becoming college and career ready.

“School attendance is a strong factor in determining whether a student will graduate high school,” said Watts. “When students have a high rate of absenteeism, they are more likely to fall behind academically. As they attend high school, they can become discouraged, disengaged and drop out of school.”

The Jenkins High School principal and district pupil personnel director visit homes of students who are frequently reported missing school, said Watts.

“District policies are enforced in notifying parents of absenteeism, and, in cases of habitual truancy, the court system is utilized in helping students attend school on a regular basis,” she said.

Boggs also said that attendance is closely monitored at LCCHS. If a student misses school, a teacher will call and see why that student isn’t in class.

LCCHS administrators and teachers review student academic progress, test score data and attendance to make sure students are on track to graduate. Boggs said teachers try to guide students and help them meet academic goals.

Peer counseling and peer tutoring has also played a role in helping students obtain high school diplomas at LCCHS.

Tutoring programs are also implemented at Jenkins.

“The 21st Century program offers after-school



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