County schools’ graduation rates rise significantly



Teachers, counselors, and administrators of Blount County Schools assemble to celebrate 91 percent system graduation benchmark.

Teachers, counselors, and administrators of Blount County Schools assemble to celebrate 91 percent system graduation benchmark.

Graduation rates for high schools in the Blount County School System have risen from 80 percent to 91 percent for the system in the last five years. The majority of the seven high schools are now above 90 percent, the state’s goal for 2020.

Also, Blount County Career Tech Center’s auto cad program was number one in the state for certifying the most students with a career readiness indicator. In addition, Blount County ranked in the top five districts in the state last year with the highest percentage of students achieving a career readiness indicator through the Career Tech Center’s certification programs, such as welding, construction, industrial maintenance, and collision repair, in which 90 to 95 percent of students earned career readiness indicators.

Blount County graduation rates by year and by high school.

Blount County graduation rates by year and by high school.

Blount County Schools curriculum director Stoney Beavers said the dramatic improvement in graduation rates resulted from a collective effort of teachers, counselors, and administrators directed toward at-risk students, beginning in kindergarten and carrying through high school.

He said a battery of different programs are being employed to achieve the result. They include various intervention programs, the Blount County Career Academy at the Career Tech Center, virtual courseware enabling homebound students to do coursework from home, night and summer school to make up coursework as needed, and a student advocacy program to assure that each and every student will have at least one adult on premises who knows them well and can act as an advocate for that student in situations as needed.

Beavers said future efforts to support improved graduation rates include a new early graduation/early release policy as well as implementing a virtual career academy this fall.