Puyallup students set record high graduation rates
Puyallup students set record high graduation rates
Posted on 11/21/2016
thumbs upThe Puyallup School District has a record high 89.6 percent of students who graduated on time in 2015, as well as the highest-ever percentage (90.9 percent) of students who earned their diploma in five years.

The district is celebrating gradual increases in graduation rates over the past four years.

In 2012 the on-time graduation rate was only 80.1 percent, and the five-year rate was 85.3 percent. For on-time graduation, an increase of 10 percent in just four years is a noteworthy success.

When asked about this increase Chief Instructional Leadership Officer Vince Pecchia wouldn’t single-out any one program, initiative, or variable contributing to the growth. Instead he noted, “Students are working really hard and understand that graduation is an important step in their lives.”

Dr. Pecchia did admit to an increased focus during professional development courses for district instructors. “There is a collective responsibility in Puyallup that all students will academically succeed and graduate. Every adult is accountable for student success.”

Across the district building leaders are creating safety nets for students to ensure their growth and success. Puyallup educators are formally focused on individual student responses to classroom instruction and intervention efforts. 

“We have made greater strides in humanizing the work of education,” says Pecchia. “We are asking teachers and principals to connect with students individually, and we are acting upon their needs more quickly.”

In addition Pecchia notes that the district is intentional in efforts to provide academic opportunity for all students. Career pathways provide students with guidance and direction. Increased offerings of Advanced Placement courses promote academic excellence. Individual interests are encouraged by a variety of academic and elective offerings.

“Post-graduation opportunities are also an incentive,” added Pecchia. Educators in Puyallup have developed a collective responsibility to talk about life after graduation. “We have intentionally increased our efforts to reach out to each individual student and discuss their interests, options, and opportunities. Student voice is highly valued and acted upon.”

As several in the district are celebrating the increased graduation rates, many others are focused on the remaining 10 percent who are not graduating. Assistant Superintendent Casey Cox agreed with Dr. Pecchia’s comments about progress, and added, “When all students in Puyallup are graduating from our schools we will know we have succeeded.”