graduation

Rowan Moore Gerety

As a high school freshman, Aaron Willis was paralyzed from the waist down in a drive-by shooting while riding his bike in Wynwood. Wednesday, Willis graduated from Booker T Washington High School on the honor roll.

 

Willis wore a look of sheer determination as he walked across the stage to claim his diploma, walking with the aid of crutches and robotic leg supports. The friends and classmates who filled the auditorium lost it, their screams gradually coalescing into chants of “Aaron, Aaron.”

 

It sounded like a story guaranteed to irritate taxpayers: a national study out of Rutgers university says more and more public high school students are taking longer than four years to graduate.

Instead, they're in school for five or six -- or more --  years!

But Florida school officials say that's not a problem here. And experts say, they both may be right -- the difference may lie in some good news from the last several years.

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard:

Creative Commons / Flickr user Clemens v. Vogelsang

Florida Atlantic University has struggled recently with low graduation rates. To improve these numbers, the school is starting the JumpStart program, a college boot camp for students who might look like risky bets for graduating.

JumpStart grants students a conditional acceptance. They take two or three regular courses, and those who do well are officially accepted into the school.

Those who don’t make the grade get the experience, and their less-than-stellar GPA doesn’t follow them or FAU around.

Florida’s graduation rate increased by five percentage points between the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years, according to new U.S. Department of Education graduation rate data released today. But despite the improving rate, just six states and the District of Columbia have a lower graduation rate than Florida –the same number as last year.

Florida High School Graduation Rates Continue to Rise

Dec 12, 2013
Florida's graduation rate has risen for the seventh consecutive year.

Kentigern / Flickr

Opportunity Nation / OpportunityNation.org

Florida doesn’t offer as much opportunity to its young people as other states do, according to new research from Opportunity Nation.

The bipartisan organization compiles an index of community characteristics to measure how people’s zip codes affect their quality of life.

The index includes measure such as access to early learning, violent crime rates and graduation rates.

Helping Our Students

Apr 11, 2013

What happens to our students if no one pays attention to them?