ADAMS COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — Graduation is always a big day, but for a school district in Adams County, the Class of 2020 had something extra to celebrate.
Adams Central Community Schools was one of seven school districts in Indiana to achieve a graduation rate of 100% in 2020.
“I’m a graduate of Adams Central. A lot of teachers in this building are graduates of Adams Central as well. And that pride of Adams Central a lot of times carries us through some difficult moments like a COVID pandemic,” says Principal Jeff McCullough. “When we said ‘we got to get these kids through from beginning to end last year,’ we were able to do so pretty seamlessly.”
Adams Central is a relatively small rural school corporation located in Monroe. Every year the school graduates around 100 students. McCullough says it’s a community effort to make sure each student graduated.
Part of the community effort started back in the early 2000s. During that time the school became well versed with using technology in classrooms. This helped the school to adapt well to virtual learning when schools were forced to close due to the pandemic.
Lucky for the district, during the shut down the school was able to open a classroom in the school to allow for students with poor or no internet to work in the school and receive help from a staff member.
“The last thing we wanted to do was have to send them to a McDonald’s or something along those lines,” McCullough says. “It’s one of those things you don’t really think about until you are faced with some problems, but then it becomes time to find those creative solutions.”
The Indiana Department of Education recently released the 2020 state graduation rates for the state. Overall the rate made a slight increase from 87.29% in 2019 to 87.69%. Over the last 10 years, the state graduation rate has been closed to 90%.
The graduation rates are calculated over a four-year period, starting when students are freshmen. When a student transfers to a new school or moves, that student is then counted in that school’s numbers.
Jason Callahan, Assistant Secretary of Student Pathways & Opportunities at the Indiana Department of Education, says the reason for the increase is that communities like Adams Central are coming together to help the students.
“In this past year with the pandemic we are encouraged we say a modest increase,” Jason Callahan says. “I think it’s the aspiration of students but it’s also the dedication of our teachers, our guidance department, and of course the administration and support staff. It’s really a team effort.”
The state’s goal is to graduate every Hoosier senior. McCullough says they are also striving to make sure everyone in the Class of 2021 graduates and the school gets better at virtual learning.