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UPDATED: Four-Year Graduation Rates Down, Dropout Rates Up at Trenton High School

Trenton Public Schools' four-year graduation rate decreased by about 1 percent during the 2011-2012 school year.

The four-year graduation rates for students at Trenton High School decreased from 93.5 percent in 2011 to 92.4 percent in 2012, according to data released Wednesday by the Michigan Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI).

Trenton graduated 222 students last year, and outpaced the statewide graduation average by more than 16 percent, according to the report.

Trenton High School dropout rates increased from 1.65 percent in 2011 to 2.94 in 2012.

Across Michigan, four-year graduation rates for students expected to graduate last spring increased to 76.24 percent, up 1.9 percent from the 2011 rate of 74.33.

“These numbers reflect the highest rates we have seen since we started reporting the data using a cohort methodology,” said CEPI director Thomas Howell. “This methodology allows us to track individual students from the first time they enroll as ninth-graders and has resulted in a more accurate measure of high school success for our students.”

More than 53 percent of Michigan’s school districts saw higher graduation rates. The largest increase in graduation rates throughout a five-year period were seen in several racial and ethnic groups. According to the report, rates for black students reached 59.93 percent last year, an increase of 3.64 percent since 2008. Hispanic student rates were at 64.3 percent, up 3.97 percent. This year’s rate reflects that 73.52 percent of multiracial students graduated in four years, increasing the annual rate by 3.52 percent since 2008.

“This is more positive news for Michigan public schools,” said state superintendent Mike Flanagan. “This is reflective of how our teachers and students are succeeding with the rigorous Michigan Merit Curriculum and being better prepared to continue Michigan’s economic comeback. We must stay on this positive course and keep our standards high and Michigan Merit Curriculum intact.”

Trenton Superintendent Rod Wakeham said district officials would not comment on graduation rates until they've had a chance to review the reports in more detail and present them to the Trenton Board of Education at a public meeting.

Students are divided into "cohorts"—a combination of students who began ninth grade in the district four years prior, and including students who transferred in or our within the four year period. So for 2012 graduates, the cohort includes students who began high school in Trenton in 2008, or transferred into the district before 2012 graduation.

The state also tracks students who were off track for four-year graduation but continuing their education, those who graduated or dropped out past the four-year mark, and those who completed their GED or reached the maximum special education age.

For more information about Trenton student enrollment, including students who stayed in school longer to earn a diploma in five or six years, visit www.mischooldata.org.

*A previous version of the story stated the four-year graduation rates for students at Trenton High School decreased from 96.28 percent in 2011 to 92.44 percent in 2012.

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Ian February 15, 2013 at 04:44 AM
I can't imagine it going up with the class of '13. We have had the lowest average ACT scores of recent classes: 19. That is just absolutely atrocious. It means that there were a number of people that scored well below that point to even out the 24s, 28s, 32s, and 34s I have seen. It really can't be placed on the teachers. It's not their fault so many of the students are beer drinking, pot smoking, tobacco chewing specimens of indolence. Albeit some of the teachers do less teaching than others, the core classes are well covered and comprehensive. The people that drop out almost always have something that separates them from the rest of the student body though, and usually it isn't because they are bad, or even lazy, but because they have found themselves in a bad situation they cannot control. It is that they are not helped, cannot be helped, and no longer feel like there is any hope of help that it ends badly. They are stuck in this situation, and it simply perpetuates. It's saddest when you can clearly pick out who they are. But for the class of '13, it's too late for those people now.
Amy Lutz-Mathias February 15, 2013 at 12:33 PM
Sorry, but teachers need to teach EVERYONE, the shy, the outspoken, the hyper, the lazy...it's their responsibility to atleast attempt to get through to all their students. You cannot put everyone on meds and just teach zombies, which some teachers prefer. Also, I wonder when counselors quit counseling? My daughter's grandfather died, she took it very hard as they were extremely close. The counselor called her down to his office to ask why she quit doing her work in all her classes, she tells him she "hates life" and "she just doesn't care anymore". Instead of "counseling" her, or calling me to tell me what's going on, he tells her to drop out then. She was over 16 so she can drop out without my permission. I don't think kids should have that "right", they are minors until 18, so therefore should NOT be able to do anything without parental permission. Even so, why would a counselor advise a depressed child to quit school instead of atleast trying to help them?
Amy Lutz-Mathias February 15, 2013 at 12:35 PM
After that, I moved my youngest son out of Trenton to Summit Academy, he was at Anderson. I could not believe the difference! He was given an IEP before his classes were ever scheduled, we had been trying to get one at Andersen for an entire school year. They found where his strengths and weaknesses were and started the school year with extra help where he needed it. They were blown away that Trenton did NOTHING to help him and were just pushing him through. Not sure what happened to Trenton schools, but I would not recommend it to anyone until they do some major changing.
michelle February 15, 2013 at 02:33 PM
Wow. The numbers are alarming. However, not all kids fall through the cracks. More parents need to be involved and quit letting video games babysit their kids. They need to pay attention to what is going on. If there are red flags get into their business. It is YOUR job. As for the harsh assessment from Amy, I'm sorry to hear of your troubles. Not everyone has a bad experience at Trenton schools though. My son is in 7th grade. He does really well in school and whenever there has been a potential issue his teachers have been great about getting in touch with me and keeping me involved. He was also very close to a grandparent who passed away (she watched him almost every day). I didn't think it was up to the school to take care of him. We talked with him, the whole network of family and friends were involved. We let the school know what was going on so they could keep me up to date if there were issues. He was able to get through it with all the support he had. He went to Hedke and Mr. Porecca and the majority of the staff there were awesome. I think the issue in the elementaries now are the overcrowding over the past few years. After closing Taylor the individual attention has decreased. There is no way the teachers can pay that much attention to ALL of the kids they now have. I don't envy them. Still, with more parental involvement, tutoring being available among other things, the children can still be very successful.
Jennifer Blackledge Moberly February 15, 2013 at 03:19 PM
I may be wrong, but to put it in perspective, if you have a class of about 200 kids, that means about 3 dropped out last year and about 6 this year. Classes/cohorts vary greatly -- just ask kids or teachers. One grade can be a nightmare and the next grade fairly easy and well-behave overall. I would think the drop-out rates vary with the overall characteristics of each class, rather than being a reflection of a sudden drop in overall district quality.
Ron February 16, 2013 at 03:35 AM
Just wait until the SOC students are figured into this equation.....
cscharlt February 18, 2013 at 02:19 AM
What do the schools do for the kids that struggle academically, or show signs of dropping out? It has to be pretty easy for teachers to identify these students. Couldn't there be a school liaison trained to engage families and provide them with resources to help their children? It seems like the best tool for improving education with growing class sizes is to get families involved in the learning.
waterboy April 09, 2013 at 06:21 PM
Hey weird concept, let me spend the nearly 8000 dollars that the state takes from us yearly and spend it on the best education I can get for my children

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