State leaders recognize Polk County for high graduation rate

Published 7:08 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2009

&dquo;I am very proud of the students, faculty, and staff of Polk County High School,&dquo; says Principal Aaron Greene. &dquo;The success we have been able to achieve is due in large part to their efforts, and to the support of those in our district office and on the Polk County Board of Education. &bsp;

&dquo;I would also be remiss not to say thank you to our parents and community members who support PCHS in so many ways.&bsp; While we are honored to receive the award, there are still many students we are not getting to that accomplishment and we need to work harder together to have our rate continue to rise. Even one student not graduating is one too many.&dquo; &bsp;

Polk County School&squo;s administrators say that they too are proud of the recognition, but caution that there is more work to be done in order to keep students from dropping out.

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&dquo;Congratulations to students, parents and teachers who have all worked so hard to make this award possible,&dquo; says Superintendent of Polk County Schools Bill Miller. &dquo;However, as a community we have an obligation to help all parents and students understand that quitting school and ending the educational process is a terrible decision, a decision that can lead to a lifetime of poverty and hardship. We continue to believe that if any one child quits that is a tragedy for that family.&dquo;

Polk County High School has enacted numerous measures in order to help meet a wide variety of its students&squo; needs with the intended outcome of ensuring that students with wide ranging interests, learning levels and backgrounds can earn a high school diploma. These measures include the Academic Recovery Center, work force development classes, an extensive career and technical course of study, an Occupational Course of Study, student mentorships with local businesses, a partnership with Isothermal Community College as well as online high school and college course offerings via the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the system&squo;s Virtual Early College.

&dquo;While we have much to be proud of in achieving the distinction of being one of the top ten schools systems in terms of graduation rate for the 2008-2009 school year, we still have work in front of us,&dquo; says Geoffrey Tennant, Chairman of the Polk County Board of Education. &dquo;We must continue to develop strategies that will allow us to improve our 82 plus graduation percentage every year. Mr. Greene, the administrative and instructional team, and the student body should take great pride in where they are and embrace the challenges before them as they seek to meet the educational objectives of an even greater number of our students.&dquo;

This is the second year that State Superintendent June Atkinson has held the special recognition ceremony to highlight the importance of high school graduation and the graduation success stories in North Carolina.

&dquo;North Carolina must redouble its efforts to keep students in school and on track for high school graduation,&dquo; said State Superintendent Atkinson. &dquo;A high school diploma is a basic accomplishment for anyone entering the workforce and an essential stepping stone to a community college or university. The schools and districts we have honored today show us that public schools can have high graduation rates, and when they do, students are the winners.&dquo;

School districts and schools were recognized in the three categories, described below. In each case, the rates referenced are the four-year cohort graduation rate. This rate refers to the percentage of students who graduate from high school in four years or less. The rates are for the students who were identified as being in the graduating class of 2009.