BOSTON and SEATTLE, June 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Boston Public Schools (BPS) recently announced a historic milestone with the graduation rate at the highest level in recorded history. Data released by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) shows the 2014 four-year graduation rate stands at 66.7 percent, up from 65.9 percent in 2013 and continuing an upward trend since 2006 when that figure was 59 percent. The data also shows the district's annual dropout rate has dipped to a record low at 3.8 percent.
Director of Online and Blended Learning for BPS High Schools, Janice Manfredi, attributes the increase in achievement in part to the use of Apex Learning digital curriculum for the district's credit recovery program, which targets students most at-risk of dropping out. At 3.8 percent, the dropout rate for 2014 is the second consecutive year that the district has achieved its lowest dropout rate on record. The reduction means more high school students are staying in school and are continuing on the path to graduation.
"As proud as we are of the increase in graduation rates, it is the decrease in dropout rates that warrants special attention and celebration," said Boston School Committee Chair Michael O'Neill. "We could not have achieved this record low without the exceptional efforts of many key partners, working alongside passionate school leaders and staff to re-engage those who have returned to BPS, or without providing additional supports for those at risk of dropping out."
"Since focusing on this key population, of both recent dropouts and those most at-risk of dropping out, in a strategic and focused way seven years ago, Boston has now cut its dropout rate in more than half, and has created programs that have become national models of success," O'Neil added.
In 2010 the district partnered with Apex Learning to implement an online credit recovery program to target students most at risk of dropping out. The district wanted to work with a digital curriculum provider that could address a wide range of academic needs and support early intervention for students in eighth and ninth grade. Apex Learning was selected based on its ability to offer rigorous standards-based online courses that address the continuum of student learning needs.
"We wanted a digital curriculum that offered a high level of academic rigor and also provided learning support for our struggling students," said Manfredi. "Based on our success, we have expanded use of Apex Learning digital curriculum beyond credit recovery to include programs for dropout prevention, skill development and Advanced Placement."
Apex Learning courses provide comprehensive direct instruction with formative and summative assessment integrated throughout. Students are actively engaged in their learning and each student has the ability to move at his or her own pace, focusing on the specific content he or she has yet to master.
"We regularly hear from students taking our courses that they feel empowered and in charge of their own learning," said Cheryl Vedoe, CEO of Apex Learning. "Research shows when this occurs, performance increases and learning accelerates. Students stay in school, achieve at higher levels, and earn credits toward graduation, which results in decreased dropout rates."
About Apex Learning
Nearly two decades ago Apex Learning emerged as a leader in digital learning for secondary education, developing online Advanced Placement courses to provide students who would otherwise not have access the opportunity to take rigorous, college-level courses. Recognizing the challenges schools face in meeting the needs of every student — from those struggling to stay on track for graduation to those capable of accelerating their learning — the company continues to develop innovative, digital learning solutions to support teachers and provide every student with the opportunity to excel beyond his or her expectations.
Today Apex Learning offers a comprehensive catalog of rigorous, standards-based online courses that meet high school graduation requirements. Apex Learning Comprehensive Courses are used by schools nationwide for both initial credit and credit recovery. The company's latest digital learning solution —Tutorials — are a key component of effective blended learning, providing classroom teachers with the critical resources they need to meet the needs of all students including preparation for high stakes assessments, targeted intervention and just-in-time remediation and enhanced instruction for all students.
Apex Learning, headquartered in Seattle, is accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission and its courses are approved for National Collegiate Athletic Association eligibility. For more information, visit www.apexlearning.com or call 1.800.453.1454.
About Boston Public Schools
Boston Public Schools, located in Boston, Massachusetts serves 57, 000 K-12 students, 17,480 are students in 9-12 grades. The district has 24 high schools and three alternative programs. Boston Public Schools is committed to transforming the lives of all children through exemplary teaching in a world-class system of innovative, welcoming schools. We partner with the community, families and students to develop in every learner the knowledge, skill, and character to excel in college, career and life. Our responsibility is to ensure every child has great teachers and great school leaders. In the Boston Public Schools we tailor instruction to meet the individual needs of every student. Today we remain focused on ensuring every school is one that any parent would be happy to choose.
SOURCE Apex Learning