BEEVILLE — So what happens to A.C. Jones High School seniors after they walk the stage?
Well, according to data released Tuesday during the Beeville Independent School District board meeting, at least half of them go on to college.
That is according to Susana Garza, director of curriculum and instruction, who said that this is based upon those they were able to track after graduation.
In 2012, district staff tracked 123 of the graduates.
Of those, 18 went on to a four-year public university. Two-year colleges now hold 101 of the graduates. Additionally, one student went to an independent college and three were not able to be tracked.
The district was unable to find 128 of the graduating students. Garza speculated that these are the students who went directly into the workforce or the military.
Sue Thomas, superintendent, noted that the data also showed that a majority of the students in college had grade point averages of 2.0 and above during their first semester.
“Our kids are sustaining themselves very well when they go off to colleges and universities,” she said.
Garza added, “Research states that for students going to college, the first semester is the most crucial.”
It’s during this first year that a majority of the students fail.
Additional good news was presented for the district.
Garza said that thanks to programs like New Horizons, the BISD has reduced its dropout rate from 6.6 percent in 2011 to 3.3 percent in 2012.
“That is a significant change,” Trustee Matt Huie said.
All of the trustees praised the work being done to reduce this percentage.
Thomas said that one of the biggest challenges faced by the district is keeping good students and not losing them to other districts.
“Our scores are deceiving,” she said, referring to recent state-mandated tests. “Our students who don’t pass the tests aren’t transferring out.”
Thomas said that the district loses between 500 to 700 students to neighboring districts — none of which will accept a student who isn’t performing well.
The challenge for the teachers in Beeville is to get those who aren’t passing the state-mandated tests, to pass.
“We know the teachers can teach,” she said.
Part of the problem is that the students don’t stay in the district long enough to benefit from the opportunities available to them.
“We have students who miss a lot of school for one reason or another,” Thomas added.
“When you look at the students who are passing, they are doing really well,” she said.
If the district could convince those students who left to return, the school’s showing on statewide tests would drastically improve.
“They are passing, not because they are going to other schools; they are passing because no matter where they went to school they would be passing,” she said.
“If they were here, they would be passing. It doesn’t matter where they go. They have the family structure; they have the motivation to actually pass.”
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.