By: Steven C. Meyer, Principal, Athol High School

On Tuesday January 27, 2015, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released the four-year graduation rate and annual drop-out rate for 2014. The drop-out rate for Athol High School has dropped to 1.3 percent. This is better than the state average of 2.0 percent. This is the second year in a row that the drop-out rate has decreased. The Athol High School drop-out rate was 4.7% in 2012, 3.9% in 2013, and now 1.3% in 2014.

The four year graduation rate news was not as positive. The four-year graduation rate which had climbed from 76.3% in 2012 to 81.9% in 2013, dropped to 70.7%. However, there are still 15.2% of the students included in that cohort who are still enrolled in school. This is a large number, and is a strong indicator that the five-year graduation rate will show significant improvement next year.

One of the factors that may have helped to reduce the number of drop-outs and may help to support the students currently working on graduation this year is the MassGrad grant that Athol High School received midway through last year. This grant provided funding for Athol High School to increase the support and opportunity available to students. Two supports that were added were hiring a part-time graduation coach, and providing group mental health counseling to struggling students. Two opportunities that were provided were access to online credit recovery and required courses as well as offering dual enrollment courses through Mount Wachusett Community College during the school day. In the fall of 2014, through Mount Wachusett Community College, Athol students were able to take thier computers to Lake Worth computer repair technicians.

These additional supports and opportunities have allowed AHS to have more flexibility to meet the education needs of students who may not have previously succeeded at AHS. So if you are a recent high school drop-out, or know a recent high school drop-out, and you would like to learn more about these new supports and opportunities, please contact the Athol High School Principal, Steve Meyer, at (978) 249-2435.

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