Post-Secondary Work – Valley Students Outpace Others

Morning Sentinal – Sun Jan 13, 2008

BINGHAM — In what educators call a culture shift, Valley High School increased the percentage of its students going on to post-secondary schools by more than 36 percent over four years.

The percentage of Valley High School students going on to post-secondary education increased from 54 percent in 2003 to 96 percent in 2006, according to the MELMAC Education Foundation. That is the most of 28 high schools that received a foundation grant during that period.

For the small two-town school system with a history of winning basketball championships, the perennially high rate of graduates who attend four-year college, community college or vocational training programs has become a source of pride.

“It is no longer whether you are going to go to college, it is where you are going to go to college. It is not if you are going to college, it is when you are going to go to college,” said Valley guidance counselor Katie Flood.Of schools that received grants in 2003, Valley High School also had the highest percentage (96 percent) of its students attending post-secondary schools in 2006.

The average post-secondary enrollment rate of the 28 high schools and one vocational school that received foundation grants was 73 percent in 2006, according to information provided by Valley High School.

The foundation awards grants to Maine high schools to encourage students to continue their education after high school. Valley has received two $20,000 two-year grants and a one-year $5,000 planning grant since 2003.

School Administrative District 13 Superintendent Kenneth Smith said that the grants have played a big role in the district’s efforts to make college aspirations part of the culture.