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PISD graduation rate reaches 89 percent

The graduation rate in Pasadena Independent School District has reached new heights, with 89 percent of high school seniors in the district graduating in 2013. That figure represents a 22 percent increase since 2005.

The Texas Education Agency recently released the graduation rate for all public school districts in Texas. Results show Pasadena Independent School District exceeded the state’s graduation rate for the second consecutive year.  This year the district topped the state average of 88 percent by one point.

According to the Texas Education Agency, the graduation data looks at students who entered high school as ninth graders in 2007-08 and graduated either within four years or the August after their anticipated graduation date.

The vast increase in the graduation rate is the result of improvements in the curriculum and programs offered throughout the district.

“Our kids are graduating at a higher rate because teachers and staff at every grade level began introducing new rigor into the education of our children eight years ago that better equipped them for future success,” said PISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kirk Lewis. “Pasadena ISD is a district on the path of continuous improvement.”

District officials note that one influential factor of the growth has been the annual Graduation Walk which occurs in September. During this event school district staff and community members visit the homes of high school students who have not re-enrolled in school.

Additionally, PISD offers a wide variety of alternative programs districtwide and at each campus that provided students with flexible learning options. For instance, the Community School allows students, 18 years and older, who are a few credits shy of graduating an opportunity to earn a diploma. Tegler Career Center offers smaller class sizes so students receive one-on-one instruction with teachers. Schools also offer computer assisted instruction for credit recovery and initial credit for those falling behind.

The implementation of the Pasadena High School’s pilot Early College High School program should also help boost the graduation rate. The program allows incoming freshmen to concurrently enroll in classes through San Jacinto College. This gives each student the opportunity to earn an associate degree by the time he or she earns a high school diploma. The first cohort of Pasadena High School students will graduate from this program in May 2015.

With this information in mind, PISD has proposed a bond of $175.5 million that will provide early college programs at four additional campuses, including Dobie, Sam Rayburn, South Houston and Pasadena Memorial High School. The bond will not require a tax rate increase. The bond election is scheduled for Nov. 4.

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