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    • The Direct Connection

    January 9, 2017

    Good Monday morning, Teachers, Staff and Administrators,

    Throughout our district, we have focused on Graduation Assurance, which aligns to Guiding Principle 1:  Increased dedication to student achievement.  Before leaving for winter break, the state released the graduation rates for SY 15-16.  We were extremely pleased with the results while acknowledging that there is much work to be done.

    All states are required to use the same graduation rate calculation.  The graduation rate calculation includes only standard diploma recipients. Graduation rates are based on a cohort calculation.  The graduation rate measures the percentage of students who graduate within four years of their enrollment in 9th grade. 

    VCS had the greatest leap in graduates in five years.  In 2015-2016, the average state graduation rate for graduates was 80.7%.  In Volusia, the average that year was 76%; however, our graduation rate increased 4.4% versus the state average increase of 2.8%.  Furthermore, VCS had the highest graduation increase of any of our surrounding counties, with Orange seeing an increase of 3.7%; Flagler, 2.9%; Lake, 2.3%; Seminole, 1.9%; and Brevard, 1.3%.  Our district also should take great pride in the gains we experienced within subgroup populations: At-risk students saw an of increase of 11.5%; African American students, 8.7%; Latino students, 7.5%; and ESE students, 14.1%.

    Our success with improving graduation rates reflects a focused team effort.  Guidance counselors, teachers, clerical staffs, school and district administrators all focused on the goal of increasing the number of graduates.  Let's not forget that graduation efforts remain a relentless K-12 campaign, because it all begins at the elementary level. Despite last year's impressive increases, there were still many students in Volusia who did not graduate with their cohort group last year. We have shown that with collective effort, great strides are possible, and we must keep making those strides to meet the needs of our students! 

    Thank you for your commitment to your work and to our students. Have a productive week!

    Kindest Regards,

    Tom Russell

    I long to accomplish a great and noble task,
    but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble.
    ~Helen Keller

    Mr. James T. Russell
    Superintendent of SchoolsVOLUSIA COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT
    386/734-7190, extension 20210
    Fax: 386/734-2842
    Twitter: @jrussell_t

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