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West Deptford '12 Graduation Rate 5th Lowest in County

A new state mandated formula promises a clearer overall picture of New Jersey's true graduation rate, but caused a decline at many school districts, including West Deptford.

Out of 14 high schools in Gloucester County, West Deptford falls close to the bottom for the Class of 2012’s graduation rate, state data shows.

West Deptford had an 84.86 percent graduation rate for 2012, putting it 10th in the county, whose high schools ranged from graduation rates of 96.3 percent (Gloucester County Institute of Technology) to 72.07 percent (Paulsboro High School).

Superintendent Kevin Kitchenman called the numbers “a concern” and unusually high, but also wants residents to understand how the graduation rate is calculated.

West Deptford’s graduation rate is down in recent years, and part of that decrease comes from a new state formula. The formula provides a clearer picture of New Jersey’s graduation rate overall, but can ding individual districts for actions beyond their control.

The old formula was a simpler, self-reported calculation of the number of students in the senior class compared to the number receiving diplomas. It left room for districts to fudge the numbers and didn’t account for student mobility.

New Jersey agreed to switch to a new formula, meant to provide uniformity nationwide on data, that uses an "adjusted cohort graduation rate."

Under the new formula, students are tracked when they enter high school in ninth grade, even if they leave the district. School districts must monitor students who transfer out and whether they graduate, which impacts West Deptford’s results. Students who don’t complete high school in four years are also counted against the rate.

“School districts have had to come to grips with seniors who move to three or four school districts and then come knocking on your doorstep senior year, and they find out that they are short credits or behind, then that's going to count against you,” Kitchenman explained.

The changing formula had an immediate impact on West Deptford’s graduation rate, state data shows. Similarly, many districts in New Jersey saw a decline under the new formula, as did the statewide graduation rate. With the old formula, New Jersey had a 94.7 graduation rate in 2010; the next year, under the new formula, it was 83 percent.

But the new formula isn’t entirely to blame for West Deptford’s lower graduation rate. West Deptford’s graduation rate fell from 89.29 percent in 2011 to 84.86 percent this past school year. The new formula also applies to 2011 data.

Year

WDHS graduation rate

Formula

Class of 2009

93.5%

Old

Class of 2010

92.9%

Old

Class of 2011

89.29%

New

Class of 2012

84.86%

New

Fourteen West Deptford students dropped out in 2012, the superintendent said.

“We had an unusual number of students, mostly for personal reasons and against our counseling programs, decided to drop out,” Kitchenman said.

The Class of 2013 has four dropouts so far.

West Deptford does have an in-house alternative high school, and Kitchenman believes it helps lower the dropout rate. Some students in the program are there with the goal to move them back into the traditional high school.

Students in New Jersey can opt to drop out of school at age 18 without parental consent. Parents can allow their children to drop out at ages 16 and 17; students 15 and younger must attend school.  

Gloucester County Class of 2012 graduation rate:

High school

Graduation rate

Change from ’11

Gloucester County Institute of Technology

96.30%

+0.96

Clearview Regional High School

95.06%

+1.38

Kingsway Regional High School

94.33%

- 2.19

Washington Township High School

93.42%

- 0.49

Delsea Regional High School

91.14%

- 2.1

Pitman High School

90.83%

+6.21

Woodbury Jr./Sr. High School

89.57%

+7.4

Glassboro High School

88.27%

+4.62

Gateway Regional High School

87.04%

- 6.2

West Deptford High School

84.86%

- 4.43

Williamstown High School (Monroe)

83.87%

- 0.27

Deptford Township High School

83.40%

+0.58

Clayton High School

80.90%

- 6.2

Paulsboro High School

72.07%

+9.91

Data from statewide graduation reports for 2012 and 2011 from the state Department of Education. 

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wdeptfordmom January 10, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Not at all a surprise to me. West Deptford Schools have gone slowly downhill in the last 10 years. Yes, there is a transient population that impacts the numbers, but the long term story is not positive.
Tom Stanton January 10, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Uh oh. Sniff. Sniff. Do you smell that? Smells like a tax increase. I guess we don't have enough programs and teachers to keep the kids interested in socialized education.
seehtrusmoke January 11, 2013 at 11:29 AM
So, how does one figure South Jersey Magazine rated West Deptford the 3rd best town to live? Could be be democratic pressure/advertizing? For years we have been told we have a great school system. Our scholl system is in the likes of Williamstown, Deptford, CLayton.........boy thats great company. Our town has $150 million in debt and somehow we are the 3rd best town to live in. Yea o.k., you believe that and I have a golf course to sell you.......oh, forgot we did that, paid $10 million to build it and then send a 99 year lease for $2 million for someone to run it......lol, awesome
Walter Frockmorton January 12, 2013 at 02:30 PM
I wouldn't get too upset about a statistic like this. It could mean that the schools with a higher percentage tend to hang on to their troublemakers and disrupt the education process for students that actually want to learn. Keep up the good work. Walt ----- just keepin it real

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