| G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – During the School Committee meeting on March 28, Mayor Domenic Sarno said, “And the good news keeps on coming.”
The committee thanked the MassMutual Foundation for its continued support of the city’s schools, recognized the achievements of the Putnam boys basketball team, and noted the academic improvements at the John J. Duggan Academy as well as the Daniel B. Brunton Elementary School.
The best news, perhaps, was the report detailing the district’s graduation and dropout rates for 2017-2018. Superintendent Daniel Warwick walked the committee through a series of graphs. The first was the city’s efforts to close the gap between its four-year cohort graduation rate and the state’s number. In 2006 the state’s graduation rate was 79.9 percent, while the city’s was 51.2 percent. At the end of 2018, the state number of 87.9 percent while the city’s had risen to 76.9 percent.
Looking at the four-year graduation rate by school, Central in 2011-2012 was 74.6 percent but is now 87.8 percent; Commerce was 35.4 percent and is now 67 percent; Putnam was 71.1 percent and is now 95.8 percent; Science and Technology was 39.9 percent and is now 79.9; and Renaissance was 78.9 and is now 92.9 percent.
Looking at closing the graduation gap for sub-groups, Warwick noted that English Language learners went from a graduation rate of 34.8 percent in 2012 to 73.7 percent in 2018. Other groups – African-American, Hispanic/Latino and students with disabilities – also made significant improvements.
In closing the dropout gap, Warwick said the city’s rate in 2008 was 9.7 percent, while at that time the Commonwealth’s rate was 3.4 percent. In 2018, the city had lowered that percentage to 5.1 while the state is at 1.9 percent.
In 2010 the city has 737 students drop out of school. In 2018 the number was 357.
Renaissance has the lowest dropout rate of .3 percent in 2018, with Commerce having the worst at 10.4 percent. Central’s rate is 2.2 percent, Putnam is 1.3 percent and Science and technology is 4.8 percent.