January 19, 2018
Wakulla High School’s Class of 2017 exceeded Florida’s graduation rate according to statistics recently released by the Florida Department of Education.
WHS graduated 92.4 percent of its seniors within four years, as compared to the state rate of 82.3 percent.
At 92.4 percent, Wakulla High’s 2017 graduation rate also improved over the previous year’s WHS 2016 graduation rate of 89.3 percent.
Wakulla High Principal Mike Barwick notes, “I credit our teachers and staff with finding ways to both challenge high-performing students with rigorous classes and also help students who need lessons taught in non-traditional ways. We also try to address social and emotional needs that might influence academic success.”
Overall, including students in alternative programs such as Impact, Second Chance, and Virtual School, Wakulla County School District exceeded the 2017 state graduation rate as well. The all-inclusive 2017 Wakulla County graduation rate is 86.7 percent compared to the state average of 82.3 percent.
Graduation rates also delve into specific categories of students termed “subgroups” by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE).
Wakulla public school district exceeded state averages in three areas of student subgroups: Black students, economically disadvantaged students, and “at-risk” students.
District-wide, Wakulla’s Black students have an outstanding 2017 graduation rate of 97 percent, compared to the 2017 state graduation rate for Black students at 74.8 percent.
Another subgroup is students with economic disadvantages. Wakulla County’s economically disadvantaged student subgroup has a 2017 graduation rate of 81.5 percent. Florida’s economically disadvantaged student subgroup has a 2017 graduation rate of 76.8 percent.
The subgroup termed at-risk is defined by the USDOE as students whose standardized state test scores entering high school qualify them for inclusion in the lowest performing 25 percent, otherwise known as the lowest quartile. Students in the at-risk category are given additional academic help throughout their school years.
Wakulla’s at-risk 2017 graduation rate is 77.5 percent compared to Florida’s 2017 at-risk graduation rate of 65.1 percent.
Chief Academic Officer Sunny Chancy has been instrumental in implementing programs such as Impact, Wakulla’s Virtual School and performance-based options so that there is a place for every student to pursue a high school diploma.
The graduation rate used by Florida is a uniform federal graduation rate that counts only students who graduate with a standard diploma within four years of starting high school.
States Superintendent Bobby Pearce, “To see Wakulla’s graduation rate steadily climbing is important. It speaks to our students being well-prepared from the first day they enter Wakulla’s public school system until graduation. This is a district-wide celebration.”