By Dr. Jim McIntyre, Superintendent of Knox County Schools
Dear Knox County Schools’ Families,
I recently had the opportunity to deliver the second annual “State of the Schools Address” to parents, students, staff, and community members across Knox County. It was a wonderful opportunity to place a spotlight on public education and talk about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we aspire to be in the future.
Given this edition of Knoxville Parent is focused on teenagers and transitions, I want to highlight the significant academic achievements of our high schools students. For the class of 2012, our official four-year high school graduation rate stands at 90.3 percent. That is a considerable increase from a high school graduation rate of 79.3 percent just five years ago. Freshman academies, graduation coaches, instructional improvement efforts, credit recovery programs, interventions and academic supports for students, and the Dr. Paul L. Kelley Volunteer Academy are having a profoundly positive effect on our ability to support and facilitate students’ success in high school.
What’s even more encouraging is that we have been able to facilitate this increase in our high school graduation rate while also increasing our composite ACT score. While our high school graduation rate improved more than 3 percentage points for the class of 2012, the composite ACT score for our graduates also increased – from a 20.4 to a 20.6. These concurrent achievements reinforce the fact that a greater number of our students are graduating with an even more rigorous high school diploma – better preparing them to enter the job force.
Recent unemployment figures put the overall unemployment rate for the United States at 7.8 percent. But that is an aggregate rate, and breaking it down further is very telling. For individuals without a high school diploma, the unemployment rate is 12.3 percent, while for those with a diploma, some post-secondary education, or a bachelor’s degree or beyond, the unemployment rate ranges from about 4 to 8 percent.
In closing, one of the best ways to ensure our children have access to good jobs in their future is to make sure they have access to a great education today. I am very proud of all of the progress being made throughout Knox County Schools as we strive to reach our ambitious goal of Excellence for All Children. Please do not hesitate to call us at (865) 594-1800 if we can be of assistance to you, or visit us online at knoxschools.org.
Dr. Jim McIntyre
Superintendent, Knox County Schools
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