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Deer Isle, Isle au Haut and Stonington, Maine.
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by Jessica Brophy
In 2008-9, Deer Isle-Stonington High School had the lowest graduation rate in the entire state at 57.5 percent.
Since then, teachers, staff and students have worked to raise that number, and their work, according to recently released numbers, has paid off.
Graduation rates have steadily improved, to 75.4 percent in 2009-10 and 78.6 percent in 2010-11. In June of 2012, just after graduation, principal Todd West predicted the graduation rate for the class of 2012 would be at least 83.3 percent.
On Tuesday, February 5, West announced the school’s 2012 graduation rate was 93.75 percent. Out of the 32 students in the graduating class cohort, 30 graduated.
The graduation rate is calculated by the state and is tallied by standardized rules requiring the tracking and sorting of every student. It takes the state months to calculate each school’s average. The statewide graduation rate is unlikely to be announced for a few more months, said West.
West attributes the climbing rate to the effort of the staff and teachers. “We started with the belief that we could do it and that we would do whatever it took for the kids to succeed,” he said. As such, plans are developed to help each student. When plan A doesn’t work, said West, they move on to Plan B and Plan C and whatever it takes.
“The challenge is to balance supporting struggling students while also challenging high fliers,” said West.
The dropout rate, which measures how many students leave the school during the school year for 2011-12, was 2.88 percent. The rate is down from more than 10 percent in 2008-09. While the target for the school for the dropout rate was 1 percent, it is the second year in a row the school has had a dropout rate of less than 3 percent.
The graduation goal for the class of 2013 is a graduation rate of 95 percent. West said the senior class is currently on target to meet that goal.