Walpole High School was near the top last year in terms of 4-year graduation rate in Massachusetts, according to numbers released last week by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
Walpole's 2012 graduation rate of 95.9% was down slightly from 96.2% in 2011. The dropout rate was .8% in 2012, an improvement from 2.1% the previous year.
High school principal Stephen Imbusch said the .8% of students who dropped out amounted to three students who were eventually labelled as "Returned Dropouts" because they had either returned to school, graduated, or earned a GED before October 1, 2012.
"We make sure to follow up on these students to ensure they are working towards their original goal," Imbusch said.
While a 100 percent graduation rate is obviously the ideal, Imbusch said they are "in the ‘people’ business, and people bring with them a wide range of issues that hinder them from achieving their goals, and the goals we have for them."
"What is most important for me is to ensure that all our students find success. Sometimes, it takes a little longer for some to find that success; hence the 2.5% of students who are still in school working towards graduation," he said.
Imbusch said that he will be requesting a new position - which he is calling a Transition Coordinator - for the next school year from redirected funds.
The position would help students who have come back from a long or short-term absence with their transition back to school and assist in the management of school’s Tiered Intervention Program.
"We are confident that such a program will bring the dropout rate as close to zero as possible," he said.
Walpole High School had the 73rd highest graduation rate and the 55th lowest dropout rate in the state in 2012. To view the full report click here.