Superior High School celebrates significant increase in graduation rate

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Two years after a global pandemic forced schools across the nation to close their doors and attempt to transition to online learning, many students are still struggling to return to academic normalcy. However, the Superior School District, in Superior, Wisconsin, may be setting an example for other districts to follow.

This comes after official state of Wisconsin graduation data was released, indicating that Superior High School’s graduation rate made a jump by almost 10%.

“My message to the staff has been that their hard work has paid off,” said District Administrator Amy Starzecki. “

According to the district, efforts to improve graduation rates have become a primary goal in recent years.

“One of the reasons we were really intentional about making this a district goal is that we hovered around 85% for a long time,” said Starzecki. “When you look at our rates compared with other school districts around the state of Wisconsin, we were in the bottom five percent.”

Superior High School finished the 2020-2021 academic year with a 94.2% graduation rate, graduating 293 of 311 students, and surpassing the state average.

“The message I’ve sent since the beginning is that this isn’t just the work of our high school,” said Starzecki. “It’s the work of all of our staff from pre-k through 12, and everybody has a role in helping to make sure kids make progress towards graduation. Whether you’re a bus driver who greets kids as they enter our busses, or whether you’re in the classroom or a principal, everybody plays an important role.”

Work that the data shows, is certain to have a positive, and lasting effect on students for the rest of their lives.

“If kids have a high school diploma it means improved career opportunities, it impacts wages in the future and it impacts overall health for individuals,” said Starzecki. “People ask what you attribute meeting your goal to, and it’s really all sorts of factors and all sorts of layers in the work that our teachers and our staff do every day with kids.”

Efforts taken by Superior High School and the District as a whole include hiring additional staff, one-on-one guidance for students and managing class sizes to keep them small.

“One of the things that we take a lot of pride in, in Superior, is our small class sizes. We know that class size has a direct impact when it comes to teachers building those strong relationships with students,” said Starzecki. “We know how important relationships are to student’s success in school. So if students feel connected to adults in the school setting they’re far more likely to do well academically. So that’s been our number one goal is on relationships and making those connections.”

District Administrator Starzecki said that while students and staff are in for some well deserved celebrations for all their hard work, efforts to continue to improve Superior School District’s graduation rates continue.