Lafayette

Dec 3, 2010 7:47 PM by Maddie Garrett

Graduation Rates Up in Acadiana

High school drop-out rates are on the decline in Acadiana. A nationwide study found from 2002 to 2008 the number of high school graduates is rising.

In Acadiana, the parish with lowest graduation rate is Evangeline with just 55% of students receiving diplomas. Vermilion Parish with the highest graduation rate of 81%. And Lafayette-- which is up 4% since 2006- has an estimated graduation rate of 70%. But what do these numbers mean? KATC's Maddie Garrett takes us inside the classroom to find out how one program is keeping kids in school.

Kit Becnel is the Information Technology Academy teacher at these students are enrolled in the Information Technology Academy at Carencro High School, she teaches a unique class as part of Lafayette's Schools of Choice program.

"Century 21st skills are learned and practiced in this class," said Becnel.

It's just one of many programs that the Lafayette School District has undertaken to keep students engaged and learning all the way through graduation.

"Project based learning, a more personalized environment, so forth and so on. And bringing in that community engagement is very very important in graduation rates," she explains.

And this learning style works. It makes education not just about book smarts, but taking the skills students learn and applying them outside of the classroom.

"We do like a lot of labs and work on the computer, and we have a lot of hands on things too," said Kayla Ibach, a student in the Information Technology Academy.

"No Child Left Behind" Specialist for Lafayette Parish Tom Spencer says a new tracking system started in 2002 has also helped the Lafayette School District bump up graduation rates.

"The main thing is to know when a kid starts having a problem so it doesn't become such a serious problem that it causes the child to drop out of school," said Spencer.

Other programs, such as Lafayette's Charter High School, which offers night classes, and the Technical school have also been shown to increase graduation rates.

 

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