We've written a lot about where Spokane Public Schools have struggled compared to the rest of the state, focusing specifically on the dismal dropout rates for the class of 2009.
But perhaps more important is what happens with the students after they graduate. Here, we see success: Spokane Public Schools just announced that a study from BERC Group’s College Tracking Data Services found a 12 percent increase, from 2004 to 2009, in the percent of students attending a two- or four-year college.
At 64.2 percent of graduates attending college immediately after graduation, that bumps Spokane Public Schools up over the state average of 59.4 percent.
"Let's go to college" has been a rallying cry and an intense focus for the district over the past six years, with teachers encouraged to wear college sweatshirts and put college posters on their walls. More students were encouraged to take the SAT and the number of Advanced Placement courses exploded.
While rates at wealthier schools like Lewis and Clark and Ferris remained relatively flat, Havermale Principal Fred Schrumpf said, low-income schools like Havermale, North Central, and Rogers have made major leaps.
The number of students going straight to college from North Central, for example, increased from about 43 percent to 67 percent. Credit partnerships with the community colleges, Schrumpf says.