The Holyoke School Department has made significant progress increasing its number of high school graduates, at the same time showing a sharp decline in its percentage of dropouts.
Holyoke School Superintendent Dr. Stephen Zrike told 22News, 72 percent of high school seniors graduated this past year, up by 20 percent from five years ago.
The dropout rate is now under five percent, down nearly 25 percent during the same five years.
Dr. Zrike credits what he calls more personal support for the students.
“I think relationships are really very important. I really commend our teachers, support staff, and guidance counselors, to really build relationships with students.” Dr. Stephen Zrike
The superintendent points to the increased graduation and reduced dropout rates as being the most significant since “MCAS” scores became a factor as a graduation requirement.
“I’m very pleased with the progress we are making in the Holyoke Public Schools in recent years,” stated Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse. “When I took office, we had a 49% graduation rate, and today we are at 72%. These improvements are a direct result of the hard-working teachers and support staff in our district, as well as the students who have responded to the positive changes implemented by the school turnaround plan. I strongly believe that all of Holyoke’s young people deserve the opportunity to get a great education, and have full access to all aspects of our local economy. We have worked to make sure there is a pathway for every student, and this news affirms that more students are finding a path that best fits their educational needs and interests. I’d like to thank all members of the Holyoke Public Schools family that have made such progress possible, and I look forward to continuing to support innovative ideas that will improve outcomes for all of Holyoke’s young people.”