The Cherokee County School District’s four-year graduation rate increased for the Class of 2015 and continues to exceed State averages.
The School District’s four-year graduation rate of 86% for 2015, up from 82% for 2014, made it the third-highest ranked metro Atlanta county school system, according to data released today by the Georgia Department of Education. This rate also exceeds the State four-year rate of 79%.
In addition to CCSD’s four-year graduation rate increasing by four points, each of our high schools saw gains: Cherokee HS up to 77% from 72%, Creekview HS up to 91% from 89%, Etowah HS up to 89.5% from 83%, River Ridge HS up to 92% from 91%, Sequoyah HS up to 89% from 87% and Woodstock HS up to 83% from 81%.
“While we are proud of this improvement, we also remain committed to the students not included in this total… as it’s important to note that the inverse of these rates is not a ‘dropout’ rate,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo said.
This is the fifth year the Georgia DOE has used a more challenging cohort formula that does not include students who take more than four years to graduate. “Many of our most challenged students are not counted in this total… such as those delayed by serious illness or the need to work to support their family, those pursuing a GED and those who earn a Special Education diploma.”
The increase in the CCSD and individual school graduation rates shows further evidence as to why CCSD’s local programs are vital to ensuring on-time graduation, Dr. Petruzielo said, noting that these programs include, but are not limited to: ACE Academy, Polaris Evening School, online C3 Academy and credit recovery courses, the District-wide Graduation Coach and the CHOICES special education program, “which has expanded to a second high school this school year, with plans for further expansion next semester,” Dr. Petruzielo said.
If the Governor and State Legislators agreed to provide necessary funding in this regard, Dr. Petruzielo said he would recommend offering a comprehensive summer school program for all interested students . . . to further increase the graduation rate and to enhance the focus on mastery of student performance standards, rather than the current focus on timing (i.e., graduation in no more than four 10-month years of instruction).
The School District also will continue to share “best practices” among high school Principals and counselors, as the graduation rate is an important component of School Improvement Plans and Innovation Zone initiatives.
“Graduation is the capstone for a lifetime of hard work by students, with the strong support of parents, grandparents, teachers, counselors, administrators, support staff, business partners and volunteers, who together ensure that each our community’s children is ready for a bright and successful future!” Dr. Petruzielo said.