breaking news

Boynton police ID man, 21, killed outside community center

50 percent graduation rate belies PBC charter schools’ successes


The 50 percent graduation rate posted by Palm Beach County’s 14 charter high schools may sound abysmal, but it is a 10 percentage-point gain over the year before and proved to be the rising tide that helped to raise the district’s overall graduation rate to a record high.

The number also belies what’s happening at the individual schools.

Five charter schools got more than 90 percent of their students across the finish line. Six saw their rates improve — two of those made double-digit strides. Still, eight charter schools had fewer than 10 percent of their potential graduates meet that mark,    due largely to their purpose — enrolling students who at one point dropped out or are at risk of doing so.

Charter schools enroll only a fraction of the district’s 193,000 students. That included about 11 percent of 2017’s potential graduates.

“It’s not a lot of kids but it adds up,” said Mark Howard, the district’s chief of performance accountability. When some of the highest performing charter schools post their best years and others that haven’t performed well do better, “Every one of those kids is important.”

District leaders are aiming for a graduation rate of 90 percent by 2021. This month, data released by the state revealed it is 3 percentage points closer with a rate of 85 percent.

Inlet Grove Principal Jon Myszkowski wants his Riviera Beach school to get some of the credit. The school saw its graduation rate go from 92 percent in 2016 to 97 percent a year later.

That graduation rate ranks Inlet Grove fourth among all of the county’s high schools, behind academic powerhouses Suncoast High and Dreyfoos School of the Arts – an accomplishment for a school where 89 percent of the students meet federal definitions of poverty.

“And our African-American male graduation rate? 100 percent,” said Myszkowski, proud to elevate a group that historically registers some of the lowest graduation rates.

G-Star School of the Arts in Palm Springs, South Tech Academy in Boynton Beach and Riviera Beach Maritime Academy also logged graduation rates above 90 percent — something each had done the year before.

So other than Inlet Grove’s significant boost, what changed among the high performing charters to push the overall rate higher? Somerset Academy Canyons entered the mix, graduating 107 of 112 from its first senior class.

“That made a big difference,” Howard said.

But other schools with fewer students and few graduates also were factors, he said.

Worthington High in West Palm Beach and Quantum High in Boynton Beach, for example, together improved their graduation rates and added 39 graduates to the mix.

That’s not to say only 39 students earned diplomas, notes Jim Pegg, director of the district’s charter school office.

“Worthington and Quantum had 87 or 88 kids walk at graduation and we’ll never see that number (in the graduation rates) because just short of half of them were outside the cohort,” Pegg said. They earned the same credits, met the same standard, but didn’t do it in time — they took longer than four years.

So while these schools made progress, their graduate rates were low, 9 percent and 11 percent, respectively.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Caribbean eatery, Italian restaurant in PBC both cited for violations
Caribbean eatery, Italian restaurant in PBC both cited for violations

State inspectors temporarily closed restaurant Let’s Dish Caribbean Restaurant in West Palm Beach and Josie’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in Boynton Beach last week after citing them for sanitation violations. Both have re-opened. Let’s Dish Caribbean Restaurant, 5083 Okeechobee Blvd., was shut down Feb. 12 after a Florida Department of...
Douglas victim was to attend UF: ‘She was going to change the world’
Douglas victim was to attend UF: ‘She was going to change the world’

The University of Florida and Florida State University responded to the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School via social media. The schools have about 500 Douglas High alumni combined, according to reports. One more Douglas student who would’ve gone to UF won’t be joining that list. The family of victim Carmen Schentrup released...
NEW: Two people removed from racketeering lawsuit against Gardens man
NEW: Two people removed from racketeering lawsuit against Gardens man

Two people have been dismissed as defendants in a federal racketeering lawsuit against a Palm Beach Gardens man. The 21-count suit filed on behalf of Ilia Mogilevsky’s mother-in-law, Tamara Filippova of eastern Siberia, claims Mogilevsky — in collusion with local business partners, lawyers, notaries public and others also named as defendants...
Here’s where speed tables will go on Sandpiper in Royal Palm Beach
Here’s where speed tables will go on Sandpiper in Royal Palm Beach

Work is beginning to build the first speed tables in Royal Palm Beach along a portion of busy Sandpiper Avenue. Signs warn residents of upcoming lane closures, and the road is closed to all but local traffic.  A document posted Tuesday on the village’s website shows where each of the 11 speed tables will be placed beginning just east Royal...
Michelle Obama praises 'Black Panther' on Twitter: 'I loved this movie'
Michelle Obama praises 'Black Panther' on Twitter: 'I loved this movie'

Former first lady Michelle Obama tweeted a shoutout Monday to the new Marvel superhero film, “Black Panther.” “Congrats to the entire #blackpanther team!” she tweeted. “Because of you, young people will finally see superheroes that look like them on the big screen. I loved this movie and I know it will inspire...
More Stories