Council Bluffs has one of Iowa’s worst high school graduation rates — 42-percent — and the district’s new superintendent says improving that number is one of her primary goals. Martha Bruckner has been on the job less than two months and says the low graduation rate is more of a community issue than a school district issue.
Bruckner says, "We as a community absolutely have to step up and say this is isn’t okay. I’ve seen it happening all over the place. We’ve got some wonderful organizations that are coming together for the exact purpose of raising our graduation rate, not just to have kids finish high school but to be absolutely certain when they finish high school that they’re walking down a path that’s going to give them some security for the rest of their life."
Bruckner says the school district will be doing everything it can to improve the graduation rate but parents need to do their part. She says: "We need to make kids go to school everyday. Don’t let them stay home unless they are absolutely sick. Make them go to school. If you have preschoolers at home, read to them. Read, read, read every day because that is going to help kids succeed. We are trying everything we can think of." Bruckner says the teachers are excited about turning things around.
Bruckner says: "We as educators have to have the passion to lead. We have to have the power to challenge. Anything that gets in the way, we have to challenge it and we have to promise to succeed. And I said, promise doesn’t mean we’re going to try, promise means, by golly, we are going to do what it takes." Bruckner says one challenge will be to get students to think "when I graduate," not "if I graduate."