In general, Wenck said “we are above the state average because each child is known by name.”
“You know a lot about them,” including their strengths and weaknesses, she said, adding that such knowledge makes a big difference.
However, knowledge isn’t everything; Wenck noted that the district lacks resources to address the health needs of her students’ families — something she said could help students get what they need to graduate.
“We can get kids through courses, but when a family is struggling, that can make a big difference,” Wenck said.
At Delaware Academy Central School in Delhi, the rate was 83.6 percent with an enrollment of 73. It was about 90 percent in 2013.
Superintendent Jason Thomson said early intervention is key to keeping students in school. As soon as absenteeism is noted for a student, the school has a system in place to try and make sure the student does not drop out, Thomson said.
“We stress the importance of the high school diploma” and keep students engaged, he said, adding that a graduation rate of 100 percent is realistic for his district.
To achieve such a goal, which smaller schools such as Andes and Schenevus did in 2012, Delhi must build on the efforts of great teachers and involved administrators and parents, which already exists, Thomson said.
If a bond to the teacher can be established with a student, it tends to result in success, Thomson said, adding that parents can help by echoing the messages being sent by the school so that everybody works together as a team.
And it helps when students are eager to learn, he noted.
“We need to find a way to keep kids engaged,” Thomson added, “by offering courses that are stimulating.”