WESTFIELD – The Westfield Public School District has reduced its drop-out rates below the state average, announced Westfield Public Schools Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski this week.
Data released by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for 2016-2017, shows the state’s average is 1.8 percent, and the district 1.6 percent, down from 2.2% in 2015-2016. Breaking it down further, Westfield High School went from a rate of 2.7 to 1.6, and Westfield Technical Academy from 1.2 to 0.2.
“Over the last year and half, Westfield Schools has been actively working to reduce the student drop-out rate at Westfield High School (WHS) and Westfield Technical Academy (WTA),” Czaporowski said at last week’s School Committee meeting.
Czaporowski attributed the lower rate to Pathways, which started as an after-school program on a $40,000 grant from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education a year ago in November. Students met from 3-6 p.m, Mondays through Thursdays at Westfield High School, to complete credits for graduation.
In addition to nine students who returned for the program, an additional five at-risk students enrolled. Czaporowski said the students received direct instruction from teachers, and online instruction through a program called “Edgenuity.” All of the students completed the program.
This year, the district received another $50,000 grant for the program, now called the Westfield Alternative Learning Center, which meets during the day off-site and has 36 students enrolled. At the School Committee meeting, Czaporowski said they just re-engaged a student who was one credit short from graduating.
The district also had an increase in its four-year graduation rate, from 85.1% in 2015-2016, to 86.5% in 2016-2017. The state’s four-year graduation rate is 88.3%..