That's 100 percent graduation in the Fort Thomas Independent School District.
The FTIS School Board and administration wanted someone to work with students in high school that have failed courses. The district also wanted someone to be a parent-school liason and do social welfare residency checks.
The district recently named former Highlands Middle School Principal Mark Goetz to the position. He brings a number of years of experience in education including coaching. His first goal is building relationships with the students and their parents or guardians.
"If that can be accomplished, I believe students will respond," Goetz said. "Helping students and their families work through barriers that may jeopardize them graduating on time or just not meeting their potential is what I hope to do in the simplest terms."
Goetz listed a number of other responsibilities with the position. He wants to see all students receiving a diploma to be college or career-ready, help parents understand and partake in the digital conversion at Highlands, work with students and families on attendance issues and get students involved in activities so they feel a part of the school.
About 80 percent of the funding for this position will come from Title 1 and the other 20 percent will come from the school district. The district portion covers the time Goetz needs to do residency issue checks, said Jon Stratton, FTIS Assistant Superintendent for Student Services. The United States Department of Education lists Title 1 as the country's oldest and biggest federally funded program. It provides more than $14 billion to school systems across the country that have students living at or near poverty and are at risk of failure.
"It's kind of a win-win in that we get a new position within the district and the majority is already paid for," said Dr. Gene Kirchner, FTIS Superintendent. "If you have someone whose job that is to see through that every student is graduating, you can definitely make some inroads there."
Stratton said Kentucky has changed the dropout age from 16 to 18. Stratton said the district does not have a large number of dropouts, but Goetz will work to decrease that by making sure students have what is needed to succeed early in their high school careers.
"For me, this position would be great so that the district can be more diligent about students living in district and if they are not, we can reevaluate those situations," said Brad Fennell, FTIS Board Member.
It is not uncommon for districts across the country to rehire former administrators to positions like this. Goetz is still involved in the district, but does not have the crazy schedule he had as a principal.
"This position allows me to provide assistance to a targeted group of about 50 students and devote my energies strictly to them," Goetz said. "I take this very seriously, but the work does allow me to have somewhat regular hours. I enjoyed (the demanding hours and responsibilities) while the HMS Principal, but it is kind of nice to go work in the daylight and go home before dark."
The National Center for Educational Statistics showed the drop-out rates declined between 1990 and 2013 across the country. The rate for Caucasians declined from nine to five percent during this time, 13 to seven percent for African-Americans and 32 to 12 percent for Hispanics.