Superintendents Corner

October 25, 2012

Students at Farwell Area Schools can look beyond high school and see a bright future.  Opportunities for success down the road are presenting themselves now.  Success takes determination, commitment and support from people around you.  Farwell Area Schools provides that support as our students choose the path for their future.

This fall, Farwell Area Schools received a copy of a study done by ACT that describes the strides in student achievement Farwell is making.  ACT (American College Testing) is the national leader in a measurement tool to assess the college readiness of students in the United States. How did Farwell receive the invitation to participate in the study?  Last fall, Farwell Area Schools received recognition from ACT that identified Farwell High School as a high-performing school. ACT determined that Farwell High School was achieving academic student growth at a rate above the national average.  Farwell High School has demonstrated that the student achievement growth measured from results of the ACT Explore (administered to 8th and 9th graders) to the ACT Plan (administered to 10th graders) to the ACT (administered to 11th graders) was higher than the national average.  This achievement data demonstrates the commitment and dedication of our staff to ensure that our students are getting the best education.

Based on these findings, Farwell High School was then asked to take part in a study by ACT to identify the common characteristics of high-performing high schools.  These common characteristics are the foundation of demonstrating growth in student achievement.  Farwell High School moves their students towards the new College and Career Readiness standards faster than their peers.  The study is titled “A First Look at Higher Performing High Schools: School Qualities that Educators Believe Contribute Most to College and Career Readiness.”  The number one aspect of school climate that was identified in 94% of the participating schools was “Strong relationships between students and teachers exist throughout this school.”  Ladies and Gentlemen, that statement describes the makeup of our staff at Farwell.  Our staff cares for these kids and that makes a difference.  When the students know you care, they work their tails off for you.  If you help them develop a high expectation for themselves, it will stay with them through college or a career.  Mrs. Yarger would like to add, “ Our staff at Farwell High School are key in the success of our students and academic achievement.  They truly believe all of our students can learn and meet them at an individual level to teach the whole child.  Through the staff’s high expectations, our students develop trust in the staff to guide them to college and career readiness and to value their education.  Students understand that failure is not an option for them through clear communication from their teachers.”

What is Farwell doing to ensure our students are College and Career Ready?  The Dual Enrollment and Early College programs at Farwell push our students further down their path for success.  Our program is based on research.  Research tells us that if a student can complete twenty college credits or more in their first year of college and successfully complete a freshman English Composition course, they are 67% more likely to complete a degree.  The goal of our Dual Enrollment and Early College programs is to get as many of our students to that magical point before they leave Farwell.  Even if a student graduates and takes on employment, research shows that once they hit that magic number of credits completed, they will go on to finish their degree at some point.  Bonus!  Our programs are free and could save parents and students over $20,000 in college costs.

In addition to the ACT accolades, The Mackinaw Center for Public Policy recently ranked high schools based on growth in student achievement and outside factors that impact student learning such as social – economic conditions.  Farwell High School received a grade of “B” and placed in the 70th percentile.  Here is a link to that study:

At Farwell Area Schools we work diligently to ensure we are doing the absolute best for the students of our community.  We want success for our students to resonate from all aspects of their lives and we give them the support to achieve it.

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