Tift County Schools’ four-year graduation rate was just released by The Georgia Department of Education at 83.2 percent, improving from 74.4 percent the previous year.
“We were very excited to see our graduation rate continue to improve,” said Tift County High School Principal Kim Seigler. “We believe this clearly shows our efforts are paying off.”
As a whole, Tift County has focused on being a data-driven system, tailoring education based on students’ performance.
“Looking at data results from assessments allows teachers to make more individualized plans for our students,” Chief Academic Office Mickey Weldon said. “Making learning more specific greatly benefits our students and their success.”
In addition to focusing on ongoing data results, the system attributes the improved rate to tutoring programs, extended learning times as well as BRIDGE (Building Resourceful Individuals to Develop Georgia’s Economy) days.
The BRIDGE Act began in the 2010-2011 school year. The most critical part of the program mandates all students in middle and high school receive counseling and regularly-scheduled advisement. It also requires that students choose a career area, create an Individual Graduation Plan and graduate high school prepared to go to college or to enter the workforce.
“We hold BRIDGE days in the early spring with students in the eighth through eleventh grades along with their parents,” Seigler said. “In these one-on-one meetings, we are able to plan a student’s schedule for the upcoming year to make sure he or she is staying on track to graduate. Working directly with our students and parents is crucial to making them successful.”
The class of 2015 was the first class to have been a part of the BRIDGE programs since the eighth grade.
The state graduation rate increased from 72.5 percent to 78.8.
“The 2015 graduation rate shows that our schools are working harder and smarter than ever to ensure our students receive their diploma, something that affords them the opportunity to move on to postsecondary education, the military, or directly into a meaningful career,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “I expect we will continue to see the graduation rate increase as we provide more personalized graduation plans with multiple paths to graduation.”