Superintendent's Message, March 20, 2019
Dear friends and neighbors:Fifteen years ago, Everett Public Schools graduated only 53 percent of our seniors on time. That was 13 percent lower than the state average. Since then, we have built a statewide reputation for truly exceptional graduation rates. In 2018, our four year graduation rate was 95.7 percent, much higher than the state average of 81 percent. These accomplishments come at a time when our state’s performance standards (math, science, reading, writing) are more rigorous, and our students are taking more Advanced Placement and College in the High School courses than ever before. Last week, this work was recognized in a Seattle Times article entitled “A significant turnaround in Everett as high-school graduation rates soar.” How wonderful it is to have the hard work of our educators and staff be recognized for the progress made over the last decade.
Concentrating on graduation rates goes hand-in-hand with a laser-like focus on equity. Developing strategies that have a student-by-student approach means learning what barriers students face and working to eliminate those barriers. In a district with 14 percent English learners, 36 percent low-income, and 11.9 percent in special education programs, leveling the playing field is critical.
Our success in removing student barriers to learning can been seen in our graduation rates for special education and English learners. From 2011 to 2018, special education graduation rates grew from 65.1 to 86.6 percent, and for students whose first language is not English, the four-year graduation rate went from 53 percent in 2011 to 91.7 percent in 2018. The district rates were well above the state graduation rates for special education and English learners for 2018 at 61.7 percent and 64.1 percent respectively.
Achieving such results doesn’t come easily. Outstanding graduation rates are made possible by committed, professional staff who truly believe in the potential of each student. And these staff members are supported by a community and network of partners who share their belief and commitment. I am honored to be part of this work.
Gary Cohn, Superintendent