St. Mary's County Public Schools' Great Mills High School Increases Graduation Rate from 76% to 84%

Leonardtown, MD and Seattle, WA - August 28, 2012 - St. Mary's County Public Schools today announced Great Mills High School increased its four year adjusted cohort graduation rate by 8 percentage points in one year, from 76% in 2011 to a projected 84% in 2012. Superintendent Mr. Michael Martirano attributes much of the increase to the school using Apex Learning® digital curriculum in a new blended learning program.

The district launched the Blended Learning Program at Great Mills High School last fall to provide students opportunities for remediation and credit recovery. Great Mills High School reported that 1 in 5 students who gratuated this year had participated in the program. "Many of these students wouldn't have graduated on time without this opportunity, " said Martirano. Overall, the district recorded the largest overall graduating class in its history.

One of the challenges of remediation and credit recovery programs is that each students is starting at a different point and has a unique set of needs. In this blended learning program, Apex Learning online courses provided direct instruction and formative and summative assessment, allowing each student to focus on the specific content he or she had yet to master and to move at his or her own pace. The classroom teacher was able to engage one on one with each student, using real-time data to monitor student progress and performance and determine the best way to help each student achieve.

"We regularly hear from students engaged in our digital curriculum that they feel empowered, in charge of their own learning," said Cheryl Vedoe, CEO of Apex Learning. "Research shows when this occurs, performance increases and learning accelerates. Students stay in school, earn credits, and achieve at higher levels, resulting in increased graduation rates".

This fall the district will expand the blended learning program to serve students at Leonardtown and Chopticon High Schools. "We are so pleased with the results at Great Mills, it made sense to expand the program to address the needs of students across the district," said Great Mills High School Principal Jake Heibel.

The program is part of a partnership with America's Promise Alliance Grad Nation campaign and Apex Learning®. The goal of the Grad Nation campaign is to increase the nation's overall high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020. "Increasing access to high quality digital learning for more youth can improve our chances of achieving our goal, chaning outcomes and ultimately succeeding as a nation," said Elizabeth Morgan, PhD, executive director, Grad Nation Campaign, America's Promise Alliance.


About St. Mary's County Public Schools

St. Mary's County Public Schools are located in Leonardtown, Maryland, and serve 17,450 students in 27 schools, including the county's first public charter school.

America's Promise Alliance is the nation's largest partenership organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth by raising awareness, supporting communities, and engaging in nonpartisan advocacy. Through our Grad Nation campaign, we harness the collective power of our partner network to mobilize Americans to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. Building on the legacy of our Founding Chairman General Colin Powell, the Alliance believes the success of our young people is grounded in the Five Promises - caring adults; safe places; a healthy start; an efective education' and opportunities to help others. For more information about America's Promise Alliance, visit


About Apex Learning

Founded in 1997, Apex Learning is the leading provider of blended and virtual learning solutions to the nation's schools. The company's standards-based digital curriculum - in math, science, English, social studies, world languages, and Advanced Placement - is widely used for original credit, credit recovery, remediation, intervention, acceleration and exam preparation. Multiple course pathways help teachers successfully engage all students in rigorous coursework that prepares them for college and work. During the 2011-2012 school year, Apex Learning served 395,000 students with more than 1.35 million course enrollments. Apex Learning, headquartered in Seattle, is accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission and its courses are approved for National Collegaite Athletic Association eligibility. For more information, visit or call 1.800.453.1454.