Ferndale School District: students are graduating at a record high rate

Lunch with Leaders program
Ferndale High School students receive advice from local business leaders about how to prepare for job opportunities available after graduation during a Lunch with Leaders program (October 30, 2018). Photo: My Ferndale News

Ferndale School District officials announced yesterday they have achieved “the highest graduation rate on record for Ferndale.”

The graduation rate for the Ferndale School District has ranged from a low of 67.2% in 2012 to a high of 80.3% last year since 2010, when schools in Washington state began using a new “cohort method” for calculating graduation rates. But the 2018 graduation rate of 85.7% far exceeds even the 2017 rate, district officials said.

“We are enormously proud. This is a big deal for Ferndale,” said Ferndale School District Superintendent Dr. Linda Quinn in yesterday’s announcement.

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District officials say they have been building a culture that promotes graduating and it starts in Kindergarten. “Part of our focus on creating a ‘graduation culture’ in Ferndale is having our High School Senior class walk the halls of our elementary schools every June,” Quinn said. “Our littlest kids get to look up to our graduating students – they see the caps, gowns, and tassels and start to get an idea of what graduation is all about. It is powerful.”

Under the new “cohort method,” graduation rates are calculated annually based on the number of high school seniors (12th grade) graduating compared with the number of high school freshmen (9th grade) 4 years prior.

2017 4-yr cohort graduation rates
Source: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)

Lynden 88.7%
Bellingham 85.3%
Ferndale 80.3%
Nooksack Valley 79.8%
Blaine 77.1%
Meridian 74.8%
Mt Baker 63.7%
Lummi Tribal 51.9%

The School District recently announced another initiative delivered via a partnership with the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce called “Ferndale Futures.” It is geared toward keeping students on target with graduating by providing them with information about local employment opportunities and how to best prepare for them. An event, “Lunch with Leaders,” resulting from that partnership was held October 30th in the Pioneer Pavilion Community Center.  Local employers Les Schwab, Gitts Auto Body, Feller HVAC, Gary’s Plumbing and Lynden Door talked to students about career development and job shadow opportunities. 25 Ferndale High School Career & Technical Education (CTE) students attended the event.

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