Superintendent says students are making graduation gains

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PLEASANTVILLE – Superintendent of Schools Garnell Bailey said Monday that the high school graduation figures posted last week by the state Department of Education don’t tell the whole story.

“We are making gains,” Bailey said in a telephone interview Monday. “We have an incremental increase, and we will have more.”

According to the Department of Education, PleasantvilleHigh School posted a graduation rate of 66.92 percent in 2012.

That figure was 2.7 percent higher than the school’s 2011 graduation rate of 64.29 percent.

Though progress may come slow and steady, Bailey said, she wants to champion the cause of her students as they work hard to turn graduation rates around.

“I want the kids to read about those gains,” she said. “I don’t want them to settle for where we were.”

The school has launched several programs in recent years to help motivate students and them in the right direction, she said.

“We have worked hard to get a positive outlook throughout the school,” she said. “We have strived to help our students set obtainable and reachable goals.”

For example, the district is in the second year of rewarding students who score well on the state High School Proficiency Assessment, or HSPA, with laptops, iPads and Kindles, depending on their test results.

Students who pass the HSPA with a score of 200 to 249 the first time receive a Google laptop, she said. Students who pass one section the first time receive an iPad. Those who pass the HSPA on their second, third or fourth attempt will win Kindle Fires.

“I need to inspire my children any way I can,” she said.

The superintendent said she expects to see a “significant improvement” when graduation results are released next year.

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