The Springfield school district received good news late last week when graduation rates were announced through the Illinois Report Card. All three District 186 high schools saw their graduation rate jump by at least 7 percentage points in 2015, and Superintendent Jennifer Gill is pretty happy about that.
“I tell you what, it’s dedication of teachers making sure that we communicate well to our students," she says. "We have a long way to go but having a growth, having increases, means that we’re going in the right direction.”
But dig deeper into the numbers and guess what — there’s even more good news. Graduation rates for minorities, low-income students and students with disabilities also increased at each high school by 3 to 17 percent. The district’s overall graduation rate was 79 percent, an increase of 9 percentage points from the previous year. Gill credits teachers and mentors for the good news.
“I think creating relationships with students and letting them know that each and every class is important all along the way, and really providing those supports, and opportunities for students who have a misstep to get back on track," she says. "That’s very important.”
Statewide graduation rates also went up. But the state superintendent says ACT scores show only about a quarter of all students are prepared for college.