Overall, Talladega County boasted an 80 percent 2012-2013 graduation rate, 1 percent lower than the 2011-2012 graduation rate and 5 percent above the state average.
“What we’re seeing in the increase from 2011-2012 is probably an indicator of the continued focus of the high schools on improving that graduation rate,” Talladega County Schools Coordinator of Federal Programs and Assessment Stephan Frank said. “We constantly are working with students. The counselors and the principals are working with them to encourage them to stay in school and (earn) their diplomas. While we didn’t have a dramatic increase, having an increase shows we’re making progress.”
Fayetteville High School achieved the highest graduation rate percentage in the county at 98 percent, while Winterboro High School experienced the biggest countywide increase, jumping from 76 percent in 2011-2012 to 88 percent in 2012-2013.
“At a small school like Winterboro, it’s just a matter of one or two students that finish or don’t finish will make a big difference percentage-wise,” Frank said. “That could have been two students who graduated rather than not graduated that could’ve created that 12-point difference.”
Frank noted the same theory holds true for Talladega County Central High School. The school showed the biggest decrease in the county at eight percent, but the school’s 86 percent graduation rate still exceeded the state average by double digits.
“What I’ve noticed over my career is your graduation rate is going to fluctuate, especially at smaller schools where a change of student can move that percentage by three, four or five percent,” Frank said. “With TC’s rate dropping from 94 to 86, once again, that’s a difference between one or two students.
“I think a lot of it is keeping students interested in school,” Frank added. “I think a lot of the initiatives Talladega County has going on with the 1:1 Technology Initiative and Project Based Learning initiatives, students become more involved and more interested in what’s going on at their school and their education. Of course you’re going to see that in the graduation rate because students are engaged and interested (while) taking ownership. They’re going to persevere and complete their education.”
Lincoln High School at 85 percent and Munford High School at 77 percent both had small drops in their graduation rates, down 2 percent and 3 percent respectively. Childersburg High School’s graduation rate of 80 percent represented a 3 percent improvement.
Only one county school came in below the state average graduation rate, but B.B. Comer Memorial High School’s 68 percent rate is trending upward after an 8 percent improvement from 2011-2012.
Frank said he expects the school to improve following implementation of the 1:1 Technology Initiative in August.
“I don’t know with any certainty — we’ve been working on verifying data and getting all our numbers in with the state as they do calculations for the 2013 year,” Frank said. “What I think we’ll see is an increase as well when the new numbers come out. I would hope so with the 1:1 initiative and the interest and excitement that comes along with that. While they are below the state average, we’re glad there’s an 8 percent increase.”
Contact Shane Dunaway at firstname.lastname@example.org