JCPS works to boost graduation rate with summer school for seniors

Published: Jun. 10, 2021 at 4:36 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 7:17 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public School seniors have faced their fair share of challenges this year, experiencing their final high school memories through a computer screen.

For some seniors, NTI was enough of a setback to cause them not to graduate with their peers.

“It really just takes for some kids just being there in person,” Kim Morales, executive administrator of JCPS high schools said. “I think NTI impacted some kids’ engagement and made some concepts tougher to learn.”

While this year’s graduation numbers are not finalized, as of mid-April, 72% of seniors were on track to graduate, according to the Wall Street Journal. JCPS online data shows 83.5% of seniors graduated in 2020.

However, administrators expect to reach similar graduation rates this year by offering the remaining JCPS seniors virtual and in-person summer school to catch up.

“Maybe in the past you might have had seniors who only needed one course, in this case they might need two or three (courses),” Morales said.

This summer, the district has been teaching pared-down versions of classes which focus less on the number of assignments and more on ensuring the students can demonstrate they understand the essentials of the course. The methods for measuring those goals and the amount of time it would take to pass varies depending on the type of course and the student.

Around 30 to 40 additional seniors have earned their diplomas through summer school since the original graduation date.

“There are plenty of studies that show having a diploma decreases the likelihood that a kid goes to jail, decreases the likelihood that they die too soon; that they are on public assistance, so that diploma is a game changer,” Morales said. “It literally could be a life and death factor for a kid.”

In addition, Morales told WAVE 3 News JCPS is still hosting career readiness testing, college preparation assistance, and reaching out to seniors about scholarships like Evolve 502.

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