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Graduation rates in metro Atlanta steady while state rates rise

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Graduation rates in metro Atlanta steady while state rates rise

FILE PHOTO: Decatur High seniors from the Class of 2020 who attended Winnona Park Elementary School celebrated graduation with a car parade through their neighborhood Friday, May 15. Photo by Dean Hesse.

By Zoe Seiler and Logan C. Ritchie

DeKalb County, GA — Newly released data shows an increase in the state’s 2022 high school graduation rate, while metro Atlanta school districts are holding steady.

Georgia’s high-school graduation rate increased in 2022 to 84.1% from 83.7% in 2021. The state’s graduation rate has increased by 14.4 percentage points since 2012.

A total of 107 Georgia school districts recorded graduation rates at or above 90%, and 41 districts recorded rates at or above 95%.

State School Superintendent Richard Woods commended students and teachers.

“Teachers and students who persevered through the challenges of the last several years deserve credit for Georgia’s graduation rate increasing and other recent positive indicators, like Georgia students beating the SAT national average once again,” Woods said.

City Schools of Decatur had a four-year graduation rate of 96.6% in 2022. The class of 2022 was among the largest graduating classes in Decatur High School history, CSD Superintendent Maggie Fehrman said in her weekly newsletter.

Fehrman told Decaturish that the overall graduation rate for CSD was 96.9%. The four-year graduation rate was 96.6% and the five-year graduation rate was 97.5% for 2022.

“I am very proud of our graduation rate. Achieving a graduation rate of 96.9% is a huge celebration for City Schools of Decatur,” she said. “We are only able to reach such a high graduation rate because we have amazing teachers in [all] our classrooms starting with the infant classrooms all the way up through our seniors’ classes. I am also so proud of our students for their hard work in meeting the rigorous graduation requirement set in City Schools of Decatur.”

CSD’s four-year rate decreased by 0.1% compared to 2021. Last year, CSD has a graduation rate of 96.7% for four-year students, according to the Georgia Department of Education.

DeKalb County School District bumped up to 76.2%, an increase of less than 1% from 2021. Nine high schools in DeKalb experienced a rise in graduation rates, and three high schools have graduation rates above 95% for the fifth consecutive year.

“As encouraged as I am by these increases in our graduation rates, I know that no one indicator can adequately define the academic achievement levels of our students or schools,” Interim Superintendent Dr. Vasanne S. Tinsley said. “The results are the culmination of combined efforts of teachers and school staff at all grade levels preparing our students for success, so there are many who share in this good news.”

DCSD partnered with Graduation Alliance in spring 2022 to support all high schools with graduation rates below 80% using strategies and resources to stay organized and strengthen reading and math skills. In 2023, the district will continue implementing graduation standard operating procedures including monitoring graduation cohorts, student grades, discipline and attendance.

Atlanta Public Schools achieved an 84% graduation rate for cohort 2022. The 2022 graduation rate is the highest all-time graduation rate for the school district, according to a press release.

“We are thrilled about this outstanding achievement by scholars in the class of 2022,” APS Superintendent Lisa Herring said. “The fact that they, with the help of their teachers, counselors and school administrators, realized this historic accomplishment while spending the better part of two years teaching and learning in the virtual space is astonishing. It shows that our students, schools, and staff can achieve strong outcomes even amid adversity. This is truly a proud moment for our district.”

APS still falls slightly behind the state average, but this is the first time the district has had such a narrow difference to the state graduation rate.

Sixteen APS schools had graduation classes, and seven achieved percentage-point gains compared to last year. In addition, six schools had graduation rates greater than 90%.

“We know that we still have a lot of work to do to close the achievement gaps between some of our students,” Herring said. “We have begun the process of engaging our entire community and developing strategies to ensure that all the district’s elements – culture, systems, structures, resources, and stakeholders – are barrier-free.”

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