Statistics mean a lot to school district administrators.
So when Oak Harbor Public Schools Superintendent Lance Gibbon got his first look at the state’s finalized data regarding his school district’s 2016 graduation rate Monday, he was ecstatic to see the results, yet even more interested in their impact.
Oak Harbor High School’s on-time graduation rate for the Class of 2016 was 91.4 percent — the highest in school history — and likely among the best in the state, Gibbon said.
“These aren’t statistics. These are kids,” Gibbon said. “Each one of them is so important and it’s worth us doing everything we can to help them be successful. That’s what this represents.”
The numbers marked the fourth consecutive year of improved on-time graduation rates at Oak Harbor at a time when state figures have remained relatively steady.
Oak Harbor’s graduation rate had dipped from 79.60 percent in 2011 to 75.10 percent in 2012, then improved to 77.8 percent in 2013.
In the 2013-14 school year, the school district set a goal of reaching a 90-percent on-time graduation rate by the Class of 2016.
The graduation rates rose to 81.90 percent in 2014 and 85.80 percent in 2015.
Meanwhile, state on-time graduation rates from 2011 to 2015 have increased only slightly from 76.60 percent to 78.10 percent.
Gibbon hadn’t seen the 2016 statewide numbers yet.
Gibbon credited educators, counselors, coaches and the community for contributing to students’ successes.
Gibbon said it was no coincidence that 2014 was the first year of the school district’s new levy that enabled the school district to restore and protect staff positions and programs.
The levy helped restore a counseling position and made it possible to start an after-school tutoring program, among other things, Gibbon said.
In April, Oak Harbor High School was rated among the top third of public schools in the country by U.S. News &World Report.
On-time graduation rates, accomplished in four years, was a factor.
“This is the outcome of a lot of investments we were able to make because of community support,” Gibbon said.