Improving graduation rates
In what ways can the CASD encourage struggling students to finish high school and better prepare students for further education or employment?
This issue is a central part of our campaign. Our opponents have spread a lot of misinformation while offering very little in the way of solutions or “fresh ideas.” We are thankful for the opportunity to clear the air.
First, it is tragic when any student drops out, as this has serious consequences for their overall well-being in life. The number one reason students drop out is economics. We have one of the highest populations of students and families living at or below the poverty level (nearly 33% and 49% qualify for free and reduced lunch). We also have a high percentage of homeless and transient students.
So, what has the district done, or what will we do in response?
1. Added evening programs for students who have to work during the day to support themselves or their family.
2. Added an At-risk counselor at the high school, along with a Student Assistance Program to identify at-risk students quickly and get them the help or services they need to stay in school
3. We have staff who review attendance records and follow up with families
4. We used COVID relief funds to alternative education options and expand summer learning that has performed well above the national average.
Next, in regards to student performance scores, they are trending back up since the pandemic, not down as our opponents would have you believe. According to the PA Department of Education Future Ready Index and an analysis by U.S. News & World Report, in 2022:
• Carlisle ranks in the Top 10 (#9) of the 32 High Schools in our region, and the top 27% both statewide and nationally.
• Our graduation rate is higher than the statewide average,
• Our test scores are higher than the state averages in mathematics, reading and science.
Is there room for improvement? Of course! But we have to start by being honest and focused on solutions, not scoring political points.