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Progress by East Wake high schools noted in local press

December 14, 2009 - The following editorial in the Eastern Wake News,"Welcome numbers at East Wake," was published after a recent news article reported that the graduation rates for all four of the small schools on the East Wake High School campus were above the county's average for the class of 2009.

"One year's worth of numbers certainly don't indicate a trend, but we're nonetheless gratified to hear the news that East Wake High School's four small schools are reporting improved graduation rates.

That was among the top priorities for local education leaders when they partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to lay the groundwork for the small schools concept in 2005.

As recently as last summer, some critics were ready to dismantle the program, citing less-than-stellar statistics in a wide range of areas, including graduation rates.

Proponents of the small schools concept argued that the schools simply needed more time before accurate judgements could be made regarding the results of the program.

After all, two of the schools were just a couple years into their existence.

Even at this point it has been just a little more than two years since all four schools were established. And this is the first year all the students have been housed for an entire school year in what is considered their permanent home.

Still, the graduation rates have risen. School administrators, who tout their ability to get to know students on a more personal level in the smaller school seem to have hit on a formula which, at the very least, encourages more children to stay in school, complete their coursework and graduate.

We trust, however, they would also tell you the graduation rates still aren't high enough. Even in the School of Arts, Education and Global Studies, where 85 percent of seniors graduated, that still means that nearly two in 10 don't finish school.

We expect those numbers to continue rising. There's no reason they can't. We also expect other measures of student success at East Wake High School to improve. Graduation rates, we believe, are just the start.

But they are a good start."

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