Ragland High School among the best in the state for college and career readiness

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 10:24 PM CDT
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ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Nine schools in the state had 100% of their students graduate with college and career-ready indicators like earning college credit or being accepted into the military before graduation.

Starting in 2028, students will need to have at least one college or career readiness indicator on their transcript to graduate. Ragland High School in St. Clair County is hitting that goal five years earlier.

A student must have at least one of the following:

• A benchmark score on the ACT college entrance exam

• A qualifying score of three or higher on an Advanced Placement exam

• A qualifying score of four or higher on an International Baccalaureate exam

• Earning college credit while in high school

• Earning silver or gold status on the ACT WorkKeys exam

• Completing an in-school youth apprenticeship program

• Earning a career technical industry credential listed on the compendium of valuable credentials of the Alabama Committee on Credentialing and Career Pathways

• Attaining career and technical education completer status

• Being accepted into a branch of the military before graduation

Principal Jennifer Ball says they monitored these students as early as the 9th grade and developed a game plan to ensure they met at least one of the nine indicators.

“You watch them. You don’t start that last minute. By the time they’re entering their 9th-grade cohort, we’re already watching,” says Ball.

She says many of their students met more than one of these indicators. Bell credits the school’s all-hands-on-deck approach for its success.

“Our math teachers do a really good job of hitting those components from the WorkKeys and ACT just with writing tests to make sure we’re benchmarking on those sections,” says Ball. “We bring in a lot of programs that are in our English classes so they find one way to benchmark the test.”

Ball says they are already working on ways to maintain this progress for students next year.

“We’re going to make sure to get kids in the correct classes,” adds Ball. “We’re going to continue to hit that curriculum with a lot of rigor and real-world relevance. We’re going to continue to push them and expose them to things. College and career ready means you also have to be ready for the job force.”

That’s the school’s goal - to make sure their students graduate and prepare for a successful future.

“We’re also looking for making sure we’re meeting their needs to what they want to do when they leave here because it’s bigger than the time here,” says Ball. “They’ve got 60 years after that.”

Other high schools in our area like Oak Grove, Cedar Bluff, Cold Springs, and Holly Pond all had students graduate with one of these benchmarks.

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