98% Graduation Rate and Still Climbing
District State: Alabama
District Website: http://www.alabasterschools.org/
In 2013, Alabaster City Schools separated from Shelby County Schools to become its own district with 6,000 students—including 9 percent who need special education services, 1,000 who speak English as a second language, and nearly 40 percent who qualify for free or reduced lunch.
Prior to separation the graduation rate had been near 89 percent, but in the new district, there was a higher percentage of students at risk of not graduating.
An analysis of transcripts showed that students were most vulnerable at the middle school level, so the district launched initiatives targeting this population. A summer program provides an opportunity for students who have been held back to work on standards they did not master during the school year—so that they can rejoin their grade.
Another program allows students to recover credits at their own pace to graduate on time. Graduation coaches also monitor at-risk students and Warrior, a therapy dog, provides support.
The graduation rate in the district is at 98 percent, with daily attendance over 96 percent at every school.