Number of Graduates Climbs
KPS Saw Largest Graduating Class in 2019
It takes 13 years to raise a graduate — and it takes the concerted effort of an entire community to ensure as many students as possible succeed.
The number of students graduating from Kalamazoo Public Schools since the announcement of The Kalamazoo Promise continues to rise, administrators told the Kalamazoo Public Schools Board of Education on Aug. 29.
In June, KPS had 715 graduates, the largest graduating class since The Promise was announced in 2005, said Cindy Green, assistant superintendent for Teaching and Learning Services.
Kalamazoo Central and Loy Norrix high schools recorded their largest graduating classes since The Promise, with 322 students graduating from K-Central and 297 graduating from Loy Norrix this year. Phoenix High School had 82 graduates, and the Kalamazoo Innovative Learning Program’s third graduating class had 14 students.
“It takes 13 years to raise a high school graduate,” Johnny Edwards, director of secondary education, said at the meeting. “We’ve improved in every level throughout the district. This includes curriculum improvements, best practices with instruction, parent and guardian support, and collaborative efforts within the community.”
That sentiment was echoed by several board members including Board President Patti Sholler-Barber. “This was not done by any magic wand. This was not done by any hocus pocus,” she said. “This was done with our community partners, our mentoring program, our caring food service workers, our caring para-pros, our caring parents, our teaching staff. This is a concerted effort.”
Edwards also cautioned people not to assume that the increase in graduation numbers is simply a byproduct of increased enrollment numbers. The real picture is much more complicated than that.
“Since the announcement of The Promise, the district has increased the number of graduates by 57 percent,” he said. “But, enrollment growth from 2005 to 2019 is 25 percent. While you could argue we don’t get credit for the first 25 percent, we definitely get credit for the other 32 percent. This is to say we are improving and our increases are not simply a function of our enrollment growth.”
Green and Edwards also presented information on the district’s three-year graduation rate for a four-year cohort and the four-year graduation rates for a five-year cohort. The rolling rates looks at bands of data, which present smoother trend lines than individual dates. Both rates have increased for seven straight years.
The 2018-19 graduation rate will be released by the Michigan Department of Education in the winter.