Hillside High hits record graduation rate
Posted September 16, 2013
Durham, N.C. — William Logan, principal of Hillside High School, keeps a chart that shows the change in the school's graduation rate over the past eight years in a place of pride on his desk.
But that chart isn't just kept behind closed doors. Logan had copies blown up and posted throughout the halls of the Durham high school.
"It's largely about motivating the students and communicating a sense of hope," Logan said.
"They know what the graduation rate was for the last school year, and they've embraced the challenge of making sure they exceed that graduation rate."
In 2009, the school graduated just 52 percent of those who enrolled as freshmen. This past spring, the class of 2013 saw almost 84 percent graduate. It was a record for Hillside that Logan intends to top.
Imari McClean said it was that potential and the International Baccalaureate program at Hillside that drew her to the school.
"I've seen students under Dr. Logan's lead take an initiative in their learning," she said.
McClean, now a senior, is the student body president.
Logan said part of the improvement stemmed from better record-keeping and keeping a closer eye on how to help students stay in school.
"Historically, when kids fall off a cohort and they know they are supposed to be senior and they are still in the 10th grade and no one has a specific conversation with that student, they tend to drop out," Logan said.
The Class of 2013 marked another record for Hillside as well. Graduates earned more than $5 million in scholarship money for their next educational step.
Logan has an even greater goal.
"Maybe we'll be that school one day that gets to 100 percent," he said.