Alternative school sees positive trends

Central High School students are scoring higher in academic tests and exploring post-secondary education opportunities, despite an uptick in at-risk factors, according to school officials.
Kyle Moroney
Apr 18, 2012

Principal Paul Kunde said Central students' average ACT composite scores have gradually increased in the last four years from 14.73 in 2009 to 17.7 in 2012.

“We have students who are achieving at higher levels and we’re very proud of that,” he said.

Central’s 2012 ACT scores, which were released in March, show jumps in all areas of the test: English scores increased from 13.3 in 2009 to 16.9 in 2012, reading scores are up from 16.7 to 18.4, science scores are up from 15.76 to 18.1, English composite scores went from 14.38 to 15.5, and math edged up from 16.5 to 16.6.

Kunde noted that his students’ scores continued to increase despite increasing economic factors, such as homelessness and the number on lunch assistance. The percentage of Central students on the free and reduced lunch program has risen from just over 30 percent in 2005 to about 70 percent in 2011, according to Kunde.

In 2007, the alternative high school had one student who was considered “homeless” — living with a non-custodial parent. This year, there are 18 homeless students, said Kunde, attributing that leap to the economy.

“Those indicators in academics generally go with that and that is just not happening,” the principal said. “It’s a testament to our students, staff and parents at Central High School.”

Despite these economic factors, Central has also seen student attendance rates increase from about 60 percent in 2009 to more than 70 percent in 2011 when the district began its Capturing Kids Hearts program. The program focuses on forming personable recognition — such as a morning handshake, smile or “how’s it going.”

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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