Exeter’s graduation rate deemed ‘a crisis’

In November, Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Minor and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Patrick Winters gave a presentation to the Exeter Township School District Cirriculum Committee on the district’s academic performance and current challenges.

The presentation focused on the 5-year performance of literacy and math in individual schools and the performance across the entire district.

Beyond performance, Winters emphasized the issue he saw with the district’s graduation rate. Out of 18 school districts in the county, Exeter is tied with Schuylkill Valley and Twin Valley at 15th place; meeting a 2019-20 graduation rate of 90%.

“That’s a major concern. In fact, I’m going to take it a step further and say it’s a crisis,” Winters said.

In attempt to combat this, the district is rolling out a targeted support and improvement (TSI) plan.

Winters said some focus needs to be directed towards students with an individualized education program, or IEP. Specifically, he called out concerns with attendance and the graduation rate within the sub-group.

In the 2018-19 school year, he indicated out of all students with IEPs, 80.5% attended school on a day-to-day basis. He stressed the importance of bringing that number to 100% for these students.

Winters also indicated that the graduation rate for students with an IEP was actually 74% compared to the overall rate of 90%.

Looking at the data, you can also see some concern with falling literacy proficiency among the earlier grades at each of the elementary schools. The district believes focusing on addressing literacy proficiency in early years will also help with the district’s long-term goals.

I appreciate data before subjectivity, and the information presented at the meeting was eye-opening.

The presentation can be viewed here: https://go.boarddocs.com/pa/exeter/Board.nsf/files/BV83BE060F73/$file/November%2010%2C%202020%20CC%20Mtg%20-%20Data%20Presentation.pdf

Video of the meeting can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQFIT7BroBw

Jason Mell is running for a 4-year term on the Exeter Township School Board. He is a Planning Commissioner for Exeter Township and the former owner of The Exeter Informant. To read more about Jason, visit jasonmell.com.