PRESS RELEASE: Major Improvements in Graduation and Dropout Rates for Holyoke Public Schools

PRESS RELEASE: Major Improvements in Graduation and Dropout Rates for Holyoke Public Schools



Major Improvements in Graduation and Dropout Rates for Holyoke Public Schools


HOLYOKE, Massachusetts – The Holyoke Public School district (HPS) has made major gains in graduation and dropout rates (the highest since the MCAS was introduced as a graduation requirement).   Holyoke’s 2017-18 graduation rate is 72%, an increase of 20% in comparison to results from five years ago.  The district’s dropout rate is 4.9%, reflecting a 23% decrease for the same time period.  This information is reflected in the graduation and dropout rate data that was released yesterday by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for schools throughout the Commonwealth.

Holyoke Public Schools attributes the improved dropout and graduation rates to the dedication and commitment of school and district staff who have worked to:

  • establish student support teams to identify students at risk of dropping out and provide them with appropriately personalized supports;
  • expand student options programming such as credit recovery, dual enrollment, Saturday School, Opportunity Academy, Newcomer Program;
  • build positive relationships with students, families, and community stakeholders
  • increase access to intervention and tutoring programs for students that have fallen behind.


“Our students and educators deserve immense credit for the significant improvement in district graduation and dropout rates,” stated Receiver/Superintendent Dr. Stephen Zrike, Jr.  “While more work is needed to ensure that our students are more prepared to excel in college and/or career opportunities, it is clear that our expanded pathways are making a profound impact on the student experience.”


As part of the district’s turnaround efforts, the Holyoke Public Schools has embarked on a strategic, innovative High School Redesign initiative that includes strategies for improving the instruction and services offered, and providing students with the skills and tools they need to be successful now, and later in college and their careers.  The district is expanding choices for students through innovative programs, community initiatives and university partnerships that help students develop a wide range of skills and interests and explore college and career options.


“I’m very pleased with the progress we are making in the Holyoke Public Schools in recent years,” stated Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse.  “When I took office, we had a 49% graduation rate, and today we are at 72%. These improvements are a direct result of the hard-working teachers and support staff in our district, as well as the students who have responded to the positive changes implemented by the school turnaround plan. I strongly believe that all of Holyoke’s young people deserve the opportunity to get a great education, and have full access to all aspects of our local economy. We have worked to make sure there is a pathway for every student, and this news affirms that more students are finding a path that best fits their educational needs and interests. I’d like to thank all members of the Holyoke Public Schools family that have made such progress possible, and I look forward to continuing to support innovative ideas that will improve outcomes for all of Holyoke’s young people.”


Students at Holyoke High School receive an in-depth, well-rounded MassCore-aligned education that provides them with exposure to a wide array of college and career opportunities in the area of their emerging interests and community-based learning opportunities. Students have the opportunity to graduate with additional credentials that expand their college and career options.  The number of college courses students can access on and off campus through partnerships with Holyoke Community College, Westfield State University, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst has substantially increased.


Holyoke Public Schools has designed multiple pathways of excellence where all students graduate prepared to excel in college, career and community leadership.  The redesigned high school structure empowers students as self-directed learners ready for 21st-century workplace and college rigor.  Holyoke students learn to become effective communicators, critical thinkers, engaged and productive community members, and mindful individuals.


Judy Taylor, Communications Director | (413) 493-1605,