BCS grad rate shows most growth in Louisiana

Published 8:29 am Friday, April 17, 2015

The Louisiana Department of Education recently announced Louisiana’s four-year high school graduation rate achieved a record high in 2014, increasing for the fourth straight year to reach 74.6 percent, a 1.1 percent point increase from 2013 and a 3.2 percent point increase since 2011.

The 2014 graduation rate of 74.6 percent marks a nearly 10 percent point increase in less than a decade. In the class of 2014, nearly 1,600 more students graduated than did in the class of 2013, and nearly 3,440 more students than in 2011.

The Bogalusa City School System grew from the second lowest graduation rate in the state of Louisiana in 2012-13 with a 54 percent graduation rate to a 72.6 percent in the 2013-14 school year. This is a growth of 18.6 percentage points. No other district in the state of Louisiana experienced greater growth.

Supervisor of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction for the Bogalusa City School System April Nobles was ecstatic over the numbers.

“I was beyond excited that all of our hard work we have put forth in the last year or two is starting to pay off,” Nobles said. “There were so many people who were instrumental in helping us make these gains. As our superintendent’s motto states, ‘We’re all In This Together.’ This couldn’t be more true for Bogalusa High School and the entire Bogalusa City School System.”

Of the nearly 1,600 additional students graduating in 2014, more than 1,200 are of a minority racial group and more than 1,230 are from low-income backgrounds. Graduation rates for students of color improved by 2 percent, nearly doubling the state’s overall improvement. From 2013-14, the graduation rate for students with disabilities also significantly improved, seeing a 6.1-point increase.

Recently, the Department announced a record-high number of public high school graduates matriculating to college. Statewide, 59 percent of graduates in the class of 2014 matriculated into college in the fall semester following graduation, a 1 percent increase in the annual matriculation rate. Since 2011, the matriculation rate has increased by 4 percent. Roughly two-thirds enroll in four-year institutions while one-third enroll in two-year colleges. Ninety-two percent of the total is made up of graduates who remain in state for post-secondary education.

Initiatives implemented through the Louisiana Believes Plan have equipped students to meet increasing college and workforce demands and to seek a college education. Those initiatives include:

• Implementation of the higher academic standards, comparable with states across the country.

• ACT series: 11th grade students — regardless of background or income — are provided with the knowledge and skills to succeed in college and career.

• Advanced Placement and dual enrollment: offering students the opportunity to earn college credit by taking rigorous courses in high school.

• Jump Start: the state’s new program for school districts, colleges and businesses to collaborate in providing career courses and workplace experiences to high school students.

• A high school accountability system that measures how well schools equip students for college and the workplace.