Report shows increase among East Hawaii high school graduates attending college

The college enrollment rate among East Hawaii high school students increased last year, albeit still shy of the statewide average.

That’s according to the College and Career Readiness Indicators Report, an annual school-by-school snapshot of how well students are prepared for life after graduating high school. It is compiled each year by Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, a statewide education consortium. It was released earlier this month.

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The report compares on-time graduation rates, dual-credit participation, the number of Advanced Placement and ACT exam takers, Career Technical Education participation and college enrollment rates nationally and within the University of Hawaii system.

According to the data, 44.5 percent of 2017 graduating seniors from Keaau, Waiakea, Hilo, Pahoa, Ka‘u and Honokaa high schools enrolled in college compared with 41 percent in 2016.

Of those 2017 graduates, 21 percent attended four-year colleges while 23.5 percent enrolled at two-year colleges. A little more than 32 percent attended college in the UH system compared with about 31.6 percent in 2016.

“It’s very encouraging,” said Hilo High Principal Bob Dircks about the upward trend.

Hilo High reported increases in its college enrollment and on-time graduation rates over 2016. Dircks attributed improvements partly to the school’s Early College program, which allows students to earn college credit while in high school.

“We never try to compete with the other schools, they all have their own goals and desires, and our students are unique in that we get a diverse group coming as far as Pepeekeo and Laupahoehoe,” Dircks added. “… I think we’re doing a pretty good job getting these kids from wherever they are coming from to want to go to college. And their parents are backing them.”

Statewide, 55 percent of 2017 graduates enrolled in college, flatlined from 2016.

Of the statewide 2017 graduates, 32 percent attended four-year colleges while 23 percent attended two-year colleges. And 34 percent enrolled at UH colleges statewide in 2017 compared with 35 percent in 2016.

Dual-credit participation among those six area schools was about 17 percent collectively in 2017 compared with about 19 percent in 2016. Statewide, dual-credit participation was 17 percent of the class of 2017 compared with 14 percent in 2016.

Pahoa High reported the highest gains among area schools for dual-credit participation. In 2017, 32 percent of Pahoa graduates earned dual credit, up from 30 percent in 2016 and 4 percent in 2015.

At Honokaa High, the on-time graduation rate increased from 81 percent in 2016 to 84 percent in 2017. Honokaa High also reported a rise in college enrollment, from 30 percent in 2016 to 35 percent in 2017.

Principal Rachelle Matsumura attributed those improvements partly to Honokaa’s partnerships with colleges in the state. Honokaa also features for the first time this year a virtual learning, dual college credit offered through Hawaii Pacific University. Matsumura said partnerships help students “get more involved” and “feel like they belong” at college.

“And we do a lot of talks about college, we’re inviting parents in, discussing college readiness and getting parents on board,” Matsumura said. Improvements are “pretty positive and very exciting.”

Full reports for each school can be found at https://tinyurl.com/hip20ccri17.

Email Kirsten Johnson at kjohnson@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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Hilo High School

• On-time graduation rate increased to 86 percent for the class of 2017, up from 78 percent in 2016 and 74 percent in 2015.

• College enrollment was 56 percent for the class of 2017 compared with 50 percent in 2016 and 58 percent in 2015.

• Dual-credit participation was 24 percent for the class of 2017 compared with 24 percent in 2016 and 10 percent in 2015.

Waiakea High School

• On-time graduation rate was 86 percent for the class of 2017 compared with 88 percent in 2016 and 86 percent in 2015.

• College enrollment was 62 percent for the class of 2017 compared with 56 percent in 2016 and 66 percent in 2015.

• Dual-credit participation was 16 percent for the class of 2017 compared with 23 percent in 2016 and 14 percent in 2015.

Keaau High School

• On-time graduation rate was 88 percent for the class of 2017 compared with 89 percent in 2016 and 83 percent in 2015.

• College enrollment was 41 percent for the class of 2017 compared with 39 percent in 2016 and 47 percent in 2015.

• Dual-credit participation was 13 percent for the class of 2017 compared with 14 percent in 2016 and 14 percent in 2015.

Pahoa High and Intermediate School

• On-time graduation rate was 77 percent for the class of 2017 compared with 76 percent in 2016 and 79 percent in 2015.

• College enrollment was 33 percent for the class of 2017 compared with 38 percent in 2016 and 36 percent in 2015.

• Dual-credit participation was 32 percent for the class of 2017 compared with 30 percent in 2016 and 4 percent in 2015.

Honokaa High and Intermediate School

• On-time graduation rate was 84 percent for the class of 2017 compared with 81 percent in 2016 and 83 percent in 2015.

• College enrollment was 35 percent for the class of 2017 compared with 30 percent in 2016 and 34 percent in 2015.

• Dual-credit participation was 13 percent for the class of 2017 compared with 16 percent in 2016 and 13 percent in 2015.

Ka‘u High and Pahala Elementary School

• On-time graduation rate was 69 percent for the class of 2017, a drop from 1 percent in 2016 and 81 percent in 2015.

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• College enrollment increased to 40 percent for the class of 2017, up from 33 percent in 2016 and 37 percent in 2015.

• Dual-credit participation was 3 percent for the class of 2017 compared with 6 percent in 2016 and 2 percent in 2015.

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