By Senior Correspondent Desirée Taylor
Eighty-six percent of New Jersey high school students graduated in 2012, up from 83 percent in 2011. Those state figures, based on a federally mandated method for tracking high school students implemented in New Jersey two years ago, only include students who took four years to graduate. Frank Belluscio of the New Jersey School Boards Association says one of the reasons New Jersey’s graduation rate has increased is because many schools have programs that help prepare students for standardized tests that are needed to graduate.
Boonton, a working class community in Morris County, increased its high school graduation rate by 6 percentage points to 95 percent. School Superintendent Christine Johnson attributes this progress to several changes. Among them, a redesigned curriculum and school schedule, test prep programs and an improved monitoring system.
“Our students in no way, shape or form can fall through the cracks,” said Superintendent Johnson. “That’s because we have two adults including the principal and other staff monitoring everything they do on a daily basis. That includes attendance, whether they’re on time and grades.”