Martha’s Vineyard high school ahead of state graduation rates

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) Committee was abuzz with excitement Monday night about the school’s four winter sports teams qualifying for the state tournament this year.

Principal Stephen Nixon praised the coaches, assistant coaches, and students for their outstanding performances and hard work. He also recognized recent Science Fair participants for their impressive projects, as well as the efforts of science teacher and fair organizer Jackie Herman, the science department, and the more than 40 judges who volunteered their time.

In a report from guidance director Michael McCarthy, the school committee learned that the MVRHS dropout rate is well below and the graduation rate well above the state’s numbers.

The state’s four-year graduation rate did improve, however, for the fifth consecutive year in 2011, while the annual dropout rate decreased to the lowest level in two decades, according to recent reports from state education officials.

At MVRHS, the drop-out rate for students in 2010-11 was 1.2 percent, or eight students of 676 enrolled. Statewide, 7,894 or 2.7 percent of students in grades 9-12 dropped out of school.

“We’re below the rate significantly, but we don’t get excited, because each one of these eight kids is important to us, and we don’t want to lose any of them,” Mr. McCarthy said.

As for graduation rates, statewide, 83.4 percent of 74,307 students in the class of 2011 graduated, compared to 96.2 percent of 157 MVRHS students.

In other reports, finance manager Mark Friedman announced that the high school’s heating bills are down by $30,000 this year, due to a mild winter. School business administrator Amy Tierney said the Department of Revenue certified the high school’s excess and deficiency funds at $691,929.

The “Student Spotlight” featured Amalie Tinus, the daughter of MVRHS music teacher Mike Tinus. She talked about her many activities as a Minnesinger, violin teacher, musician and songwriter, Animal Shelter and Safe Rides volunteer, and mentorship with the MV Center for Living.