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County graduates flocking to two-, four-year colleges

August 23, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY - More than 60 percent of Washington County's 2006 graduating class chose to enroll in two-year or four-year colleges, according to data released Tuesday.

Cheryl Mitchell-Jones, supervisor of guidance services, said 26 percent of the 1,420 students who graduated this year enrolled in four-year colleges, and 36 percent enrolled in two-year colleges. Two percent of students chose to attend a vocational school, and 3 percent enlisted in the military.

Thirty-two graduates went to schools considered the "most competitive" after high school, Mitchell-Jones said. These include Ivy League schools, liberal arts colleges and universities.

Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said during Tuesday's Board of Education meeting that she knows one county graduate who received a full scholarship to Harvard University.

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Eighty-two county graduates enrolled in "highly competitive" schools, including universities, liberal arts colleges and institutes of technology, Mitchell-Jones said.

The graduating class of 2006 received 1,010 financial awards, totaling about $12.5 million.

Board member Russell F. Williams said students may receive multiple scholarships, but not accept them all. So, the numbers might not reflect the number of financial awards or the amount students utilized.

Boonsboro High School students received the most financial awards, with 203, totaling $2.9 million, according to data from Life Track surveys released Tuesday.

The surveys monitor students' progress and career choices after high school. An exit survey is given at graduation, and 18 months and five years after graduation.

Nearly 900 of the county's 1,420 graduates responded to the survey, said Michael Markoe, director of student services/special education.

About 74 percent of the county's graduates said their high schools provided them with rigorous options and opportunities, according to the data. More than 89 percent of those surveyed said their teachers were available to address their academic concerns.

More than 86 percent said they had a positive learning experience in high school. About 37 percent said their teachers had an excellent knowledge about the curriculum being taught. About 45 percent categorized teachers' knowledge as good.

About 31 percent of students surveyed said their administrators showed excellent care and concern for students, and another 38 percent categorized the level as good.

"This is how students are feeling and what their perspective on their high school experience is," Markoe said. "We want to know once they leave this Washington County experience, what it looks like."

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