The state of Indiana has handed out $220,000 in bonuses to the 12 high schools that made the biggest gains in their graduation rates from 2009 to 2010; all 12 schools improved by 12 percentage points or more. Two of the three schools that made the greatest gains are Indianapolis charter schools, with Fall Creek Academy, at 28 percentage points, in the lead. The Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School is in second place, improving its graduation rate by 19 points—a hair above the statewide average of 78%.
The reasons for the schools’ improvement vary. Tindly CEO Marcus Robinson said charter status gives schools the flexibility to change their schedule, allowing them to keep students in school longer to ensure they get the help they need. But, he said, the primary reason for Tindly’s success was its emphasis on a standard curriculum.
Meanwhile, North White High School social studies teacher Todd Shriver credited tutoring and the use of technology with his school’s improvement: “They can come in and work on computers in the subject matter where they’ve failed—in English, math, government, any type of subject—to regain their credit so they can graduate on time.”
Overall, 10 schools will receive $20,000 each in bonus money. The state created a separate bonus pool for high schools with fewer than 300 students; two schools in that category (the last two on the list below) are receiving $10,000 awards. Principals and superintendents can decide how to allocate the money.
The Winning Schools
- Kanakee Valley
- North White