Graduation Rate Rises at Eatonville High School
The on-time graduation rate for Eatonville High School is now an impressive 95.2%, an 8.2% increase over the 2013–2014 school year and 5.1% over 2014–2015.
Principal John Paul Colgan credits the improvement to a variety of targeted efforts, first of which is a first-rate faculty. “To say that our teachers get to know their students and their needs is an understatement,” says Colgan. “The EHS faculty instructs, guides and inspires Cruisers at every grade level. By the time they are Seniors, students have been well-served by competent, caring teachers, who have empowered them to take meaningful next steps after graduation.”
Another factor impacting on-time graduation has been the addition of a Graduation Specialist, Cathy Kerr, who works to find learning options for students to help them succeed. “Cathy monitors credit evaluations and meets with students and families,” Colgan explains. “She also excels at making positive connections with staff at other Pierce County schools that provide educational options for Eatonville students looking for additional choices.”
Colgan also has high praise for the EHS Counseling Department. “MaryAnn Baker and Corinna Schoonover make sure all of the necessary credits, state assessments and graduation requirements are met. As as result, students don’t fall through the cracks along the way.”
Also driving the improved graduation rate, says Colgan, is a strong sense of teamwork. “Everyone comes together to assist students who need academic support. Counselors, teachers and advisers come together all year long and continuously evaluate students who need academic assistance.” Mike Moeller, Senior class adviser, underscores the process well. “We have a great relationship among the teachers, counseling staff and the career center. We care deeply for our kids…and the relationships we have with our students matter most.”
Going forward, another outstanding effort has been added this year. The addition of a new program called Ignite, was recently implemented to help 8th graders transition to the high school. “Entering high school can be complex.” Colgan states, explaining that Ignite incorporates techniques to make Eatonville High as warm and welcoming as possible for incoming freshmen. Highlights include EHS upperclassmen “mentors” leading orientation, visiting the middle school campus, cementing relationships with 8th graders that will continue when they enter EHS in the fall. At the same time, mentors discuss incoming students’ strengths, and work to design strategies to improve GPA, that propel a sense of peer support as well as a planned-for sequence of positive progress that over the years will help students to improve school climate and stay on-track.
“Our improved graduation rate is great news,” the Principal avows, noting that it is important to remember that the primary goal of the entire school district is to inspire life-long learners who will create a bright tomorrow. “Graduating from high school is a milestone,” Colgan declares, “but life-long learners celebrate a multitude of milestones beyond the classroom. That’s what counts most…and that’s what educators throughout the district work to instill in their students.”