The March 31 editorial was grossly inaccurate in its data research and reporting. The Sun Journal reported that Lewiston High School has the third-highest student dropout rate, just behind Telstar High School and Shead High School.
That data from the Maine Department of Education is not current. The student dropout data the editorial referred to was based on 2000-01, not 2007-08 student dropout data.
The Department of Education recently released a summary of schools across the state and the corresponding percentage of students who met the standards in each school. In addition, the department also included a progress summary which showed the percentage of gain that each school has made over the past three years, as measured by growth in combined reading and math scores. It also noted progress made with student dropout prevention.
I am pleased to inform you that Telstar High School emerged as one of the top schools in the state in terms of the progress shown over the past three years. In fact, THS was fifth in that category of all 119 high schools in Maine. The school’s progress average was an impressive 14.26 percent, as compared to the state average of 4.18 percent.
More impressively, Telstar High School’s student dropout rate has decreased steadily, with the most progress and improvement made the past two school years, with the 2008-09 school year’s student dropout rate of 3.4 percent.
The citizens, students, their families and staff members of SAD 44 and, most notably of Telstar High School, deserve to have good news, but more importantly, accurate news reported.
Daniel O. Hart, principal
Telstar High School, Bethel