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 Diplomas Count 2010(06/24/2010) 
10:07
EdWeek Producer: Jennifer: 
Today's chat on Diplomas Count 2010 is open for questions, please start submitting them now.

The chat itself, sponsored by Carnegie Learning, will begin at 1 p.m. Eastern time.
Thursday June 24, 2010 10:07 EdWeek Producer: Jennifer
1:00
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Welcome, everyone. Here with us to answer questions about using data to increase graduation rates is Joe Kitchens, the superintendent of the Western Heights, Okla., school district. My colleague Dakarai J. Aarons wrote a story last year about how Joe's school district is using data to improve instruction: "Leading the Charge for Real-Time Data," http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2009/06/03/33dataleader_ep.html

Joe, please introduce yourself.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:00 Mary Ann Zehr
1:00
Joe Kitchens: 
Hi, I'm Joe Kitchens I serve as the Supt. of Western Heights Schools in Oklahoma City
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:00 Joe Kitchens
1:01
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Let's start with a question asking for a bit of an overview of what you are doing.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:01 Mary Ann Zehr
1:01
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
What programs have you found to be the most successful in helping your district's grad rates?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:01 Guest
1:02
Joe Kitchens: 
At WHPS we have spent the last 6 years working on the implementation of a cohort based graduation/dropout reporting program.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:02 Joe Kitchens
1:02
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Next a question about cost.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:02 Mary Ann Zehr
1:02
[Comment From Deborah MarshDeborah Marsh: ] 
what methods of data analysis are the most effective and cost efficient?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:02 Deborah Marsh
1:04
Joe Kitchens: 
The formula that we use at WHPS to determine Graduation/Dropout rates, is the Exclusion Adjusted Cohort Graduation Indication or EACGI which is also the new Uniform Graduation Rate Formula adopted by the USDOE.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:04 Joe Kitchens
1:05
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Readers are interested in more detail.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:05 Mary Ann Zehr
1:05
[Comment From ToriTori: ] 
Can you explain the cohort based reporting program more?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:05 Tori
1:11
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Joe will answer Tori's question in a moment here.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:11 Mary Ann Zehr
1:12
Joe Kitchens: 
To marie, Yes I have been suprised with the impact that mobility has on increasing the dropout rate. We have found that mobile students dropout and fail academically at near twice the rate of non-mobile students.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:12 Joe Kitchens
1:13
Joe Kitchens: 
We use the Chancery SIS
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:13 Joe Kitchens
1:16
Joe Kitchens: 
Tori, The cohort based program is based on a formula developed at NCES. Basically the district has to account for every student that enters the district over a four year period. And the only way students can be exempt from the accounting is if they die.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:16 Joe Kitchens
1:17
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Now to the question about cost.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:17 Mary Ann Zehr
1:18
Joe Kitchens: 
Answering about cost: Cohort Measures we have found them to add to our capacity to create funding. Especially in the area of state funding where the funding is weighted. For every dollar that we have invested we have seen an overall return of 3 dollars.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:18 Joe Kitchens
1:18
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Tell us more about the students in your school district.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:18 Mary Ann Zehr
1:18
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Please be sure to let us know what the ethnicity population is at that school.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:18 Guest
1:19
Joe Kitchens: 
We are minority/majority district 84% economically disadvantaged
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:19 Joe Kitchens
1:19
Mary Ann Zehr: 
How have you implemented the program with principals?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:19 Mary Ann Zehr
1:19
[Comment From frankfrank: ] 
What is the role of the school principal in raising the graduation rate through data?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:19 frank
1:20
Joe Kitchens: 
All administrators are able to review the data in near real time. Constant updates regarding the number and identification of dropouts and students at risk is made available to the Principal and all other stakeholders in near real time.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:20 Joe Kitchens
1:21
Joe Kitchens: 
By the way we utilize a dashboard system developed by Mizuni with supporting SIS built by Chancery/Pearson called SMS
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:21 Joe Kitchens
1:22
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Let's look at Oklahoma as a whole.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:22 Mary Ann Zehr
1:22
[Comment From Matt Lenard, SREBMatt Lenard, SREB: ] 
In our 16-state region, Oklahoma has consistently had among the highest graduation rates, measured by such indicators as the AFGR and CPI. Which specific longstanding programs or policies do you think have most contributed to maintaining these rates?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:22 Matt Lenard, SREB
1:25
Joe Kitchens: 
I don't believe that the high graduation rates reported by the state of Oklahoma are accurate. Oklahoma used to utilize the Leaver Rate in it Graduation Rate Calculation---I believe that the EACGI is the preferred USDOE "Gold" standard. And, I think if Oklahoma used it as a state we would see the graduation rates in our state drop considerably. And, I might add I think that would happen in all states that use the Leaver rate----including some of the top 50 school districts in the nation who are reporting 80% graduation rates. I think they are off base and basically overstating their rates just like the state of Oklahoma.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:25 Joe Kitchens
1:26
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Let's get into more specifics of your data-based program.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:26 Mary Ann Zehr
1:26
[Comment From Deborah MarshDeborah Marsh: ] 
What specific decisions did your data help you make?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:26 Deborah Marsh
1:28
Joe Kitchens: 
We have several things that we have done in response to the reports on dropouts. One we have developed a program with state DHS (human services) to place counselors in our middle and high school. DHS pays 1/2 of the cost and we pay 1/2 of the cost. We also developed program with our community college to let all our graduates attend with free tuition for 2 years.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:28 Joe Kitchens
1:29
Mary Ann Zehr: 
What about interventions?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:29 Mary Ann Zehr
1:29
[Comment From Mary Anne MatherMary Anne Mather: ] 
When Joe is ready, I'd also be interested in hearing what data is used for analysis to determine specific interventions and how does that analysis happen
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:29 Mary Anne Mather
1:30
Joe Kitchens: 
We know that mobile students dropout at twice the rate---so we contact all new families (using the DHS support counselors) immediately upon their entry into the school system. We also use the dashboard program to indicate to staff which students are experiencing grade or attendance problems.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:30 Joe Kitchens
1:31
Mary Ann Zehr: 
There's some confusion about what SIS is.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:31 Mary Ann Zehr
1:31
[Comment From Sheilda MadkinsSheilda Madkins: ] 
Do you track students until graduation or only until another school district picks them up on their role?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:31 Sheilda Madkins
1:31
Mary Ann Zehr: 
First the SIS, then onto the question about tracking students until grad.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:31 Mary Ann Zehr
1:31
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
I am confused about the response. What is the Chancery SIS? What does SIS mean?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:31 Guest
1:32
Joe Kitchens: 
SIS means Student Information System (SMS) is the Pearson program. It was developed at Chancery and then Pearson bought Chancery's program or software.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:32 Joe Kitchens
1:32
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Now the question about tracking students.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:32 Mary Ann Zehr
1:34
Joe Kitchens: 
We track students until they leave our district and enroll in another institution or graduate. So we track students beyond the normal 4 years until they are 21 or they graduate or they exit school to attend another school. And anyone including students that are suspended who once they exit don't another school (we must have a written request for record) are counted as dropouts.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:34 Joe Kitchens
1:35
Joe Kitchens: 
Every student is a dropout unless they exit as a graduate or we get a written request for record from another institution.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:35 Joe Kitchens
1:35
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Here's a question about a particular population of students.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:35 Mary Ann Zehr
1:35
[Comment From Cesar MuedasCesar Muedas: ] 
What positive impact have you seen in the graduation rates of your ELL population?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:35 Cesar Muedas
1:39
Joe Kitchens: 
I'm going to say this about particular groups of graduates. We find that students that enroll in the district as 9th graders whether they are ELL or any ethnic group are much more likely to graduate than those who come in later years. For example our African American Males that enter school in the 9th grade graduate at a 86% rate---but if they enter school after the 9th grade year they graduate at a horrible rate. We believe that graduation rates are all about "mobility" If I could be like Clinton I would say its the mobility stupid
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:39 Joe Kitchens
1:39
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Now for a question about challenges you may have encountered from Karen.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:39 Mary Ann Zehr
1:39
[Comment From KarenKaren: ] 
what challenges have you faced in implementing such a program (data collection, funding, leadership, political support)?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:39 Karen
1:42
Joe Kitchens: 
Regrettably we have had to fight the SDE every step of the way---it seems the states don't want the public to know the gravity and depth of the dropout problem. And, we were ridiculed in the beginning for having a high dropout problem because we reported the states dropout rate @ 35% about six years ago. Many districts weren't reporting at that level---and we even sued the state over inappropriate graduation rate calculations on AYP determinations.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:42 Joe Kitchens
1:42
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Lots of questions here about how you carry out the program.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:42 Mary Ann Zehr
1:42
Joe Kitchens: 
And I might add we won the suit
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:42 Joe Kitchens
1:42
[Comment From Sheilda MadkinsSheilda Madkins: ] 
Do you have personnel assigned to maintain this data base? Are homevisits one of these individuals responsibilikties if students cannot be located?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:42 Sheilda Madkins
1:44
Joe Kitchens: 
The home visits are actually triggered by lack of attendance or other issues and most generally are conducted by a school counselor and DHS counselor---That always wakes people up.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:44 Joe Kitchens
1:44
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Tell us more about how you look at data in the content areas.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:44 Mary Ann Zehr
1:44
[Comment From Charles EcclesCharles Eccles: ] 
Have you tracked data that shows any correlation with specific disciplines (English, Math, Science, etc.) as being weak areas for those who don't graduate? If so, what steps are being taken to address these content areas?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:44 Charles Eccles
1:46
Joe Kitchens: 
Actually, we know that mobile students fail academically at twice the rate of nonmobile students. And we are just beginning to use the same cohort measures to indicate academic success for the cohort as those measures we use to gauge graduation rates within cohort. Academic performance using meausures is the next step and we have just developed that capacity this spring.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:46 Joe Kitchens
1:46
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Christina wants to know about how your work could inform ESEA reauthorization.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:46 Mary Ann Zehr
1:46
[Comment From ChristinaChristina: ] 
What are some of the lessons you have learned from implementing this method of calculating graduation/dropout rates that might inform ESEA reauthorization?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:46 Christina
1:49
Joe Kitchens: 
I think mobility is the issue of our time and I think ESEA reauthorization should demand the accounting of student mobility and galvanize our schools to succesfully address the mobility factor in schools. Teacher Incentive Pay programs may be good, but we must begin to address the mobility issue as TIP will target nonmobile students but not the mobile
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:49 Joe Kitchens
1:49
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Tell us more about how you involve parents in your efforts to boost graduate rates.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:49 Mary Ann Zehr
1:49
[Comment From KariKari: ] 
When you contact the families who are new to the district, what do you hope to achieve with that conversation?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:49 Kari
1:54
Joe Kitchens: 
In our SIS and dashboard applications we specialize in family information management. That is we really want to stay in constant with our families. When students move it is imperative that we meet them at the door and that we use every possible asset in maintaining contact. We also counsel our families to stay with us. It's not that we think we are a better school than the one down the street, but that we must intervene and halt if possible the movement of students from one district to another. The same student we lose this month may be back in 3 months and we don't want that interruption in service---its bad for kids and we need to change our public policy in this state and probably others to allow students the choice of staying in a school rather than forcing them to move because they changed geograhpic locations. Choice is not just about leaving a school it may also be about staying in the school of your choice.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:54 Joe Kitchens
1:54
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Neil wants to know the name of the lawsuit in which you sued the state.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:54 Mary Ann Zehr
1:54
[Comment From neil choninneil chonin: ] 
what is the name and citation of case where you sued the State on grad. rates
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:54 neil chonin
1:56
Joe Kitchens: 
I can't remember---Western Heights vs the State Department of Education. There actually were 3 law suits filed on the issue and initially all were dismissed by the district court, but 2 were overturned by the State Supreme Court and then a judge ruled against the state.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:56 Joe Kitchens
1:56
Mary Ann Zehr: 
How do you use counselors?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:56 Mary Ann Zehr
1:56
[Comment From Sheilda MadkinsSheilda Madkins: ] 
Do counselors have the largest role in your drop out prevention program? What are some of their responsibilities?
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:56 Sheilda Madkins
1:58
Joe Kitchens: 
They work in connection with the DHS counselors, they make determinations as to whether students are credit efficient/deficient and help in the review of attendance records etc. Much of their work is prompted by reporting which indicates that students problems In the future our teachers have elected to take as adivsors high risk students.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:58 Joe Kitchens
1:58
Mary Ann Zehr: 
We're almost out of time. Let's end with a question about what the data may not capture.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:58 Mary Ann Zehr
1:58
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
How do you value things that cannot or are not counted? For example, engagement, curiosity, or students' questions.
Thursday June 24, 2010 1:58 Guest
2:00
Joe Kitchens: 
One of the things I don't think we do very well right now is capture enough perception data and then "mine" that data regarding stakeholder student, parent and others to gain more insight into the problems that face our students. If we could do this better I think we might have an even better show on this dropout issue.
Thursday June 24, 2010 2:00 Joe Kitchens
2:00
Mary Ann Zehr: 
Thank you for all the great questions, and thank you, Joe, for giving us your take on them.
Thursday June 24, 2010 2:00 Mary Ann Zehr
2:00
EdWeek Producer: Jennifer: 
Thanks again to everyone for joining us today, and to Mary Ann Zehr for moderating this chat on Diplomas Count 2010, sponsored by Carnegie Learning.

A transcript of this chat will be available shortly on this same page. And make sure to check out other upcoming edweek chats at www.edweek.org/go/chats
Thursday June 24, 2010 2:00 EdWeek Producer: Jennifer
2:00
Joe Kitchens: 
Thanks for all the Great Questions.
Thursday June 24, 2010 2:00 Joe Kitchens
2:00
 

 
 
 

Chat: Diplomas Count 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010, 1 p.m. Eastern time


Join edweek.org for a live chat about using data to boost high school graduation rates. Western Heights, Okla., Superintendent Joe Kitchens will field questions about what his district is doing and the role of data in making informed policy and practice decisions. His district has made data-driven decision-making a priority, and he was named the 2008 Data Leader of the Year by the Austin, Texas-based Data Quality Campaign.

Guests:
Joe Kitchens, superintendent of schools, Western Heights, Oklahoma.
Mary Ann Zehr, Assistant Editor, Education Week moderated this chat.

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