A journey, not a race. That’s how Sky Valley Education Center Director Karen Rosencrans describes the success of her students in earning high school diplomas.
Sky Valley Education Center was recently recognized by state leaders with the Washington Achievement Award for the work staff is doing to help more young people earn a high school diploma.
“That’s a state award for schools who have made significant improvement in their extended graduation rate,” Rosencrans said last week. “Students are entitled to go to school until they are 21, so it’s including students who finish beyond the four years.”
Sky Valley Education Center’s extended graduation rate improved over the previous year by almost 10 percent for the Class of 2010, the last year data is available.
Sky Valley Education Center’s rate is 79.5 percent, compared to the state’s rate of 78 percent.
Rosencrans said that, while she is pleased to have earned the distinction, the educators at SVEC aren’t motivated by such statistics.
“We tend to focus more on the individual student and less on the numbers the state is keeping track of,” she said.
The percentage of high school graduates from SVEC would actually be even higher if those who go directly into college without graduating high school first, a common outcome with the Running Start program, were taken into account, she noted. The school has a high number of students who enter college while still in high school through the Running Start program.
“You can earn an associate’s degree through Running Start and still be regarded as a drop out,” Rosencrans said.
The alternative school is also ahead of the state in terms of the number of students who go on to college, she noted.
“Of the class of 2012, 76 percent of the class is enrolled in a two or four-year school,” she said. “That’s higher than the state average. And it was 86 percent of the class of 2011.”
The award is a signal that the school is doing something right, she said.
I’m delighted to be given the award,” she said. “It shows that if you make a commitment to serve each individual student the best way you can for that child, good things happen.”