Wilde Lake Sees Dramatic Increase In Graduation Rates Last Year


Senior throws his graduation cap to celebrate his diploma and get ready for his future. Photo by Sarah Rubin.

According to the Baltimore Sun, in 2020, Wilde Lake saw the biggest increase in graduation rates of any other school in Howard County

The graduation rate in the 2017-2018 school year at Wilde Lake was 84% according to the Public School Review. Strengthened by the guidance of Wilde Lake principal Ms. Leonard, in the 2019-2020 school year, that graduation rate rose to 90.4 percent. 

Ms. Leonard largely attributes this increase to the hard work and dedication of Wilde Lake’s teachers. “The relationship that was built between students and staff and the flexibility and grace offered by teachers really contributed to last year’s increase in graduation rate.”

“Online learning gave me an opportunity to be more flexible,” says Mr. Townsend. “I was able to allow students to progress and show mastery at their own pace. This helped a lot of kids to graduate who might not have otherwise.”

Senior Emanuel Ilo strongly believes that teachers have helped relieve some stress from online school by being understanding of constantly changing circumstances. “Teachers play a huge role in graduation,” he says. “They’ve helped us gain knowledge and let us be more flexible during online schooling. 

According to Ms. Leonard, the switch to virtual learning allowed some of Wilde Lake’s most struggling seniors to learn in a more flexible way. She says, “There are some seniors that are able to thrive in the virtual environment. They have been able to figure out a schedule where they are working and doing their classes.”

Still, says Ms. Leonard, the work with our students isn’t finished. “There are students who are really struggling with virtual learning, who being in the building and being with their teachers is the best way to learn.” Whichever learning environment a student prefers, Ms. Leonard will support them and help get their diploma. 

As seniors prepare for their high school careers to come to a close, Ms. Leonard stresses the importance of continuing working to give more students their diploma. “Having the highest increase in graduation rate of any school in the county is work that we need to continue to do to ensure that every student who wants their diploma as their pathway is able to get it.”