CHS tops district in 2017 graduation rate


Sibleigh Julander

Students from the class of 2017 make their way from the Memorial Stadium Concourse to the field on June 21, 2017. The class graduation rate of 92 percent.

Andrew Cornel , Staff Reporter

The five “School of Distinction” banners say it all. Cleveland has been atop the state’s list of the highest improving schools in the State of Washington for increased reading, language arts, mathematics and graduation rates for the past five years.

Just a decade ago, the school struggled to get seniors graduated on time. Now, the city’s only STEM school is setting lofty goals each year and exceeding their own expectations.

The Class of 2017 not only accumulated scholarships totaling more than $643,000, they also gave Cleveland the highest graduation rate in the district at 92 percent. According to SoLS counselor Avery Manning, the class also had a significant number of student with post-secondary plans.

“They have the highest rate of students enrolling to college after high school,” she said.

The teaching staff has played a major role in the students’ success. Alfred Escorpiso, who was one of the top 10 graduates in the Class of 2017 said Cleveland’s staff was there to motivate him.

“They’re there to tell us … to get away from any stereotypes against us.”

SoED Assistant Principal Ray Garcia Morales talks about how Cleveland was before, he both lived and went to high school in Seattle “Cleveland was a school that was super low in enrollment not a lot of people did not typically want to go to Cleveland, you came here because you lived in the immediate area.”

The statistics show how the graduation rates were before we changed to a STEM school in the 2010-2011 school year. Cleveland had test scores in the science end of course exam (EOC) with 27% of 10th graders students passing the test. Now we have scores of 67% of 10th graders passing a jump of 40%. Also before Cleveland became a STEM school the on time graduation rate was 51% and last school years was 92%. SoLS Assistant Principal Catherine Brown was a staff member during the change to a STEM school and says, “we changed our whole approach to teaching learning, back in 2010 when we moved to our STEM model and project based learning model.”

Brown also adds how they created the eight period schedules, “so that students have time to do meaningful inquiry work and collaboration work in a classroom.”

She furthermore compares the difference between a 50 minute period to a 80 minute period, “ in a 50 or 55 minute class it is hard for a teacher to give some direct instruction and give students time to work in groups but in a 80 or 85 minute long class that’s reasonable to do.”

One of the people that Escorpiso thinks helped his class have a high graduation rate was Principal George Breland “he is like there to pretty much watch over us and motivate us and try to get us back and to graduate in general,” says Escorpiso.

The students are also have a large role into this Manning thinks that, “first off the students at Cleveland are dedicated to their academics the majority of students come here because that is their first priority.”

Students care to learn and are dedicated and want to graduate and to go to college, students also have many support staff to help and guide them along their high school journey. Manning states that students have, “ advisory teachers, classroom teachers, counselors and case managers to be able to build relationships with students which kind of make students engage more.”

Everyone is a part of the school having high graduation rates, the teachers teach the information for the students to learn and get educated in, the support staff and administrators support the students and help the students excel in learning.