Counseling Increases Grad Rate

“The patient is in intensive care but still alive.”

Javier Perez De Cuellar, diplomat

There are several high school seniors, perhaps 40, who are a few credits short of graduating with their class next Wednesday, June 4.  That’s pretty serious when the high school age graduating class numbers less than 200.

It’s not Horizonte’s fault.  Salt Lake City’s alternative high school received these students, mostly during the last two years, from the traditional Salt Lake public high schools because of their lack of success.  Horizonte is also Utah’s largest provider of adult high school education.

Despite highly personalized and encouraging efforts to advance these very diverse, inner city, about 20 percent Caucasian, students,  a little more productive student time is needed.

High school graduation rates in Utah are determined by the number of students graduating during the school year beginning October 1 through  September 30, of the next calendar year.  Typically the count of graduates is final with commencement day, this year June 4.  Normally, most students and teachers take the summer off.

Over the last three years, Horizonte has been the beneficiary of one of the first federal School Improvement grants to an alternative high school.  As part of the successful effort to increase graduation numbers, Horizonte focused  summer counseling on willing and deficient students who wanted help to graduate before September 30.  Some were allowed “to walk” with their peers in exchange for a commitment to finish “over the summer.”

The effort worked and will be implemented again shortly.  It’s not a simple matter.  The students turning 18, although in their last year of state public education funding, must be registered as adults, oriented, tested and transferred to the Horizonte adult program to finish.  Area traditional public high schools may also be sending students they have in this situation to Horizonte’s summer intensive graduation assistance.

In order to help pay for the extended, highly individualized counseling endeavor, Horizonte sought and has tentatively received financial assistance from a private funder, to cover the personnel and other costs of this special help.  A  formal announcement of the provider of the private funds  will be made shortly.

Not only is the high school graduation rate boosted but several new high school grads are able to more successfully pursue the working world or higher education sooner.  Horizonte is again uniquely situated to take the alive and intensively care for them.

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