POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - Poplar Bluff High School's graduation rate rose 4.2 percent this past year to reach 91.8 percent.
School officials said the results are a cause of the diligent work of teachers in tracking data, building relationships, and generally working harder to engage students every day.
"Much credit should be given to high school staff for their efforts during the student's final four years," affirmed Patty Robertson, R-I assistant superintendent of curriculum. "However, this is reason for all of us to celebrate. We begin laying an academic foundation and helping students to form dispositions about learning as early as 3 years old."
The graduation percentage rate has steadily increased since 2011 when it was merely 78.6 percent.
The Professional Learning Community model was adopted district-wide builds in time to the school year for educators to collaborate across different subject areas.
The digital transformation of the district includes a laptop being supplied to every student starting at the Junior High level through High School which allows teachers to supplement their classroom tools with online materials that are now available to all students.
Other opportunities tailored to upper grade levels include advisory during which students are provided a class period to check in with a designated teacher and meet with 'lifeguards' in each department if they are struggling to grasp a concept. The ICU, or intensive care unit, is a parental notification system utilized when students miss assignments.
Lastly, PB Writes is an activity that puts an emphasis on research and essay writing across all core subjects with monthly prompts designed to prepare freshmen and sophomores for the EOC and upperclassmen for the ACT.
"None of this makes [school] easier, it makes it more student-focused, giving kids opportunities they didn't have before," stated Mike Owen, PBHS principal. "These are extra things our staff and students are doing. The easy route would be to sit back and do what's always been done."
"I've been in the district for 20 years and this high school did not always have the reputation that it has now," said Owen a first year high school principal, referring to all the dropout prevention measures being implemented today. A total of 340 students earned diplomas in the Class of 2017, marking the largest graduating class since 1980, according to district records.
"We are now a strength for the district," Owen continued. "Our efforts are being noticed, and the results are showing."