May 16th, 2011
03:39 PM ET
From CNN's Sally Holland
MEMPHIS (CNN) – A hundred and fifty-five Warriors from Booker T. Washington received a high school diploma and a handshake from President Obama in Memphis today.
“Just a couple of years ago, this was a school where only about half the students made it to graduation. For a long time, just a handful headed to college each year,” the President pointed out in his address to the students.
The schools graduation rate is one reason the President came to Memphis on this cool spring day. Booker T. Washington High School is credited with a jump in graduation rate from 55% to 82 % in just four years through the use of gender based classrooms and increasing teacher effectiveness by moving teachers that seem to get more than a years growth out of their students to the core classes of English and mathematics.
“Because you created this culture of caring and learning, today we are standing in a very different Booker T. Washington High School. Today, this is a place where more than four out of five students are earning a diploma – a place where 70 percent of the graduates will continue their education.”
The President has set a goal of having the largest percentage of college graduates in the world by the year 2020. Booker T. Washington is an inner city school, is a low-income neighborhood with high incidents of teenage pregnancy and violence. FULL POST