KPS Graduation Rate Soars

"We are celebrating! Absolutely ecstatic," states Kearney Public Schools Superintendent of Schools Jason Mundorf. The Kearney High School graduation rate rose to 93.14%, an increase of almost 3% in one school year. This rate is significantly higher than KPS produced in the last several years and nearly six percentage points above the Nebraska state average.  

In 2021, the district's graduation rate was 90.36%. "To raise a rate by 2.78% in one year is phenomenal," said Mundorf. "The factors that affect these rates make it very difficult to move the needle, but our staff is making this happen!."  

According to KPS, the graduation rate increased primarily due to two factors. The first factor is the impactful work of the staff at the Hanny Arram Center for Success. Last year, the school graduated 52 students who may have otherwise dropped out.

"We have incredibly hard-working students and staff," stated Jason Owens, principal of the Hanny Arram Center for Success. "Our scholars are a better fit socially and academically for the Hanny Arram Center for Success. We are proud that they chose to improve their futures with us." 

Students at the Hanny Arram Center for Success can work toward their diploma in a smaller environment with several supports. "Many students who have not been successful in a traditional 6-12 environment have found success at our school," said Owens.   First, students must apply for entry into the school, and a district placement team determines who will be enrolled. 

"We provide an excellent option for students who need a smaller, more intentionally-focused and supportive environment to be successful in school," said Owens. "Our staff works hard to meet students where they are academically and socially, and we help prepare them for the workforce, military, community college, or university." 

According to Mundorf, another factor in the improved graduation rate is the work of the Kearney High School Student Assistance Teams (SAT). When students begin to have academic, behavioral, or attendance struggles, a plan of assistance is created through the SAT team. The team then works with parents and the student to develop a plan of action for improvement. "SAT participation has grown significantly over the past few years," said KPS 6-12 MTSS Coordinator Dr. Jesse Florang. " These teams provide early identification and intervention, which pays dividends in student success in the classroom and ultimately in our graduation rate." 

"These results are a testament to the hard work of our students and staff across the district, especially at the Hanny Arram Center for Success and Kearney High School. Our teachers' commitment to our students and their success will help these kids achieve their future goals and build a workforce for the Kearney community. We are incredibly proud of these results," said Mundorf.