The graduation rate for the 358 Wilkes County high school seniors concentrating in career technical education (CTE) courses last year increased to 98.1 percent, which exceeded the statewide rate and in all but two nearby school systems.
The statewide graduation rate for seniors concentrating in CTE courses was 94 percent, up from 80.4 percent in the 2010-11 school year.
Among schools systems in adjoining counties, only the Ashe and Alleghany county systems had higher rates. It was 99.3 percent for Ashe and 98.8 percent for Alleghany.
CTE concentrator graduation rates for other school systems in adjoining counties in 2011-12 included Elkin City and Watauga County schools, both 95.4 percent; Iredell County-Statesville schools, 94.6 percent; Alexander County schools, 96 percent; Yadkin County schools, 95.6 percent; Surry County schools, 95 percent; Mount Airy City schools, 97.8 percent; and Caldwell County schools, 96.8 percent.
Todd Williams, director CTE for the Wilkes schools, said the graduation rate for Wilkes high school seniors concentrating in CTE courses was 91.2 percent in 2010-11, 89.3 percent in 2009-10 and 87.9 percent in 2008-09.
The overall Wilkes high school graduation rate was 86.6 percent in 2011-12, up from 80.6 percent in 2010-11.
Williams said about 48 percent of last year’s Wilkes high school graduates concentrated in CTE courses in high school, which he said is similar to the percent statewide.
The federal Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 requires that individual schools systems and states report CTE concentrator graduation rates.
By federal definition, a student is concentrating in CTE if the student takes at least four technical credits from among courses listed in one of 16 career clusters. At least one of the courses must be a second level sequenced class.
The 16 career clusters are agriculture; food and natural resources; architecture and construction; arts, audio visual technology and communications; business management and administration; education and training; finance; government and public administration; health science; hospitality and tourism; human services; information technology; law, public safety, corrections and security; manufacturing; marketing; science, technology, engineering and math; and transportation, distribution and logistics.
Only one of North Carolina’s school systems failed to meet the state target of 85 percent of concentrators in the cohort graduating on schedule in 2011-12.
Students enrolled in CTE courses have the opportunity to earn National Career Readiness Certification, a nationally-recognized credential indicating readiness for success in the workplace.
Students can achieve this certification at the bronze, silver, gold or platinum levels, based on how they score on tests.