Have You Heard? Increasing numbers of Red Clay students are headed to four-year colleges after graduation, according to the latest statistics from the National Student Clearing House.
Read More Latest figures received by Red Clay show that even while the number of students graduating from the system has risen, so has the percentage of students attending a four-year college after high school. In 2015, the total percentage of students going to college was 65.9 percent of the graduating class. In 2016, that percentage rose to 68.3 percent, an increase of 2.4 percent. “What better way to judge a system than by the level at which it graduates children ready to succeed?” asked Superintendent Merv Daugherty. “While we place a special emphasis on reading at grade level in the early years, we have redoubled efforts in the past three years to increase the rigor of the courses taken by our secondary students AND to increase the numbers of students participating in higher level classes.” For several years, the district has employed a multi-pronged approach to graduating more students ready for college, focusing mainly on encouraging more students to take rigorous classes in high school and providing more support to individual students. As outlined in the district’s Strategic Plan, Red Clay focused on four key areas academically:
Provide targeted interventions prior to 11th grade for students not meeting college-readiness benchmarks.
Prepare students to enter the 12th grade ready to succeed in Pre-Calculus or Calculus.
Prepare students to enter the 12th grade ready to succeed in college-level English.
Design an accessible and equitable K-12 system that ensures all students can succeed in college-level courses by 12th grade.
Additional supports include providing a time-management and study skills class called AVID, and a SAT prep class. Staff – including guidance counselors and advisors – encourage students who are doing well to take an honors class, or Advanced Placement course. The district has also made training available to teachers which support the goals. “The studies are clear. Students benefit from higher rigor course work,” said Sam Golder, director of secondary schools. “Students who meet with a higher level of success in high school go on to have a higher level of success in college. They also believe in themselves, that they can handle college.” Red Clay believes the expectation of success must begin in the earliest grades and seeks to instill that confidence in students in many ways, from hanging banners in the elementary schools asking which college they will attend, to dressing every incoming 9th grader in a cap and gown, so they envision graduating from high school. Progress has been made, with Red Clay leading the state in college readiness and showing the fewest number of students who need remedial classes when they reach college. While the college readiness figure stands at 58 percent for the state, in Red Clay that number is 82 percent. On the other hand, those needing remedial classes when they reach college is 41 percent, in Red Clay that figure is 18 percent. “As a district we constantly strive to be better at what we do, which is graduate students ready to go on to a successful future,” said Dr. Daugherty. “While there is more work to be done, I’m very proud of the work done by our dedicated teachers, support staff and administrators. Red Clay is on the right path to success for all.”