Graduation rates are the highest in state history for the 2014-15 school year, and while local school systems aren’t necessarily kings of the hill in this regard, both Surry County and Mount Airy far outpace that improving state figure.
In Surry County, 89.6 percent of students who enter high school in the ninth grade graduated within four years, according to accountability figures recently released by the state education department.
Mount Airy was even higher, at 92.3 percent.
Although both schools were above state average, neither of the two school systems were ranked in the top 20, according to the state figures.
For the 10 consecutive year, North Carolina’s four-year cohort high school graduation rate was up and, standing at 85.4 percent.
“Graduation rates measure something that is hard to define — hope.” said Greg Little, superintendent for Mount Airy City Schools.
Beginning in 2006, the state started reporting four-year cohort graduation rates, the percentage of students graduating from high school in fours years.
“I am very proud of the high graduation rates and appreciate the work of all our principals because I understands that graduation rate is a pre-K -12 effort.” said Travis Reeves, superintendent for Surry County Schools
Graduation rates give school officials an overview of the effectiveness of their schools proficiency overall. Each grade level course is broken down into proficiency percentage by subject such as English, math, reading and biology.
“While we are thrilled with a district graduation rate of 92.3 percent, we will not be happy until we have reached our goal of 100 percent,” said Little.
As Little explained, they teach kids from day one to focus on graduation.
“As students walk into their kindergarten classrooms, they learn that they are the Class of 2028. We not only expect them to graduate; we expect them to graduate prepared to reach their full potential,” said Little.
While Mount Airy city schools have only one high school to focus on there are two different graduation percentage rates, one for the district as a whole and one for the high school. Jamie Martin, coordinator for student accountability and information, explained the reason for the two separate rates is the district rate takes into account students that have transferred who can still be accounted, which means even though they are no longer in the school system their data can and is still collected for informational purposes for the district-wide overall scores.
In Surry County, three high schools are included in the figures.
“I especially appreciate the efforts of all our high school principals who make graduation for all students a priority. High school principals and their staffs make home visits and personalize individual students’ schedules through flexible options such as our virtual academy in order to maximize opportunities for graduation,” said Reeves.
The individual graduation rates are broken down at a school level, in each district and can be found at www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/reporting/.
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