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Decatur High graduation rate puts school in elite group


Decatur High graduation rate puts school in elite group


The Georgia Department of Education on Dec. 11 released data about graduation rates in public schools and Decatur High ranks among the best in the state.

Decatur High’s graduation rate in 2013 was 93.9 percent, an improvement over a 91 percent rate in 2012, Department of Education data show.

I used some of the other information published on Dec. 11 to see how Decatur stacks up against its peers. The statewide graduation rate is 71.5 percent, but that’s not a bar too high for Decatur to jump. Based on my count, there are 427 public high schools with graduation rates measured by the state DOE. Only 34 of those high schools had a graduation rate of 91 percent or higher, putting Decatur High in the top 8 percent of all public high schools in Georgia.

If we’re comparing school systems side by side, City Schools of Decatur has the best graduation rate among its peers. The next highest is Cobb County, with a 76.5 percent rate, but this is really a meaningless comparison. Decatur graduated 169 out of 180 students in 2013, DOE figures show. Cobb graduated 6,824 out of 8,920.

Decatur is a small system with one high school. And if we’re comparing high schools to high schools, Decatur High actually doesn’t have the highest graduation rate. Here are the schools in Cobb County, Fulton, County, the city of Atlanta, DeKalb County and Gwinnett County that had a graduation rate above 91 percent.

Source: Georgia Department of Education.

Source: Georgia Department of Education.

So as you can see, there’s competition both in terms of the percentage of students graduating and the number of students graduating from schools in neighboring districts. You could also make a convincing argument that schools with larger and more diverse populations are achieving at a higher rate simply by graduating more students.

I could throw these numbers at you several different ways. The bottom line is Decatur High is among the best, period. You always strive to be the best, but Decatur is succeeding.

The numbers also get broken down into subcategories of students. When you examine the subcategories at Decatur High, some students are having more success obtaining a diploma than others.

Subcategory of students         Graduation percentage

Black                                            88.9

White                                           97.7

Students with disabilities         76.2

Economically disadvantaged    91.5

There’s a lot to be proud of in these numbers. There’s also room for improvement. But there always is.

(UPDATE) Also, because Ben asked, here are the subgroup graduation rates for the other schools that had a 91 percent or higher total graduation rate: