Fulton’s graduation rate highest among area’s large school systems

Rate still falls below strategic goal of 90%

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NORTH FULTON, Ga. – The graduation rate for Fulton County Schools continues its upward trend, with the Class of 2017 posting a graduation rate of nearly 87 percent.

While that figure is the highest graduation rate among large systems in metro Atlanta, it still falls short of Fulton’s five-year strategic goal to reach a 90 percent graduation rate by 2017.

“While the district did not reach the 90 percent goal for all schools, overall we experienced extraordinary progress in all areas of the county. Over five years, the district’s graduation rate increased more than 11 percent – from 75.5 percent to 86.8 percent – and in North Fulton, nearly every high school improved and exceeded the 90 percent goal,” said Susan Hale, spokesperson for Fulton Schools.

Of the system’s 19 high schools, 12 reached the 90 percent goal, including all eight traditional high schools in North Fulton.

Cambridge and Chattahoochee high schools posted the system’s highest graduation rates of just over 98 percent for the Class of 2017. Following close behind were Northview (96.8) and Johns Creek (96.5) high schools.

Statewide, the push to increase Georgia’s previously lackluster graduation rates seems to be working. In the past five years, statewide rates have gone from just under 70 percent to nearly 81 percent this year, the first time in Georgia’s history that graduation rates have exceeded 80 percent.

“It’s wonderful to see Georgia’s graduation rate continue to rise because we’re not just talking about data points,” said State School Superintendent Richard Woods. “We’re talking about individual students who are moving on, ready and prepared, to their next phase of life.”

He noted the push toward personalizing education for each student, and moving away from a standard approach, has been the key to keeping students motivated and in school.

In Fulton, the move to personalized learning has long been a focus of the curriculum, with students being allowed to move ahead to more challenging courses when ready, and additional support available for those less prepared. System officials said they are also aware that not every student takes the same path after high school graduation.

“We continue to be immensely proud of our schools in everything they do to help students cross the finish line,” said Fulton Schools Superintendent Jeff Rose. “Our goal is every student will complete high school and earn a diploma so they can be prepared for post-secondary success, as a college student, a skilled member of the workforce or a member of the armed forces.”

This is the seventh year Georgia school systems have calculated the graduation rate using the standard now required by the U.S. Department of Education. The formula now begins tracking each student when they first enter high school as a freshman, and whether they graduate within four years. In the past, graduation rates included students who took more than four years to graduate, and did not account for transfers and dropouts.

Woods noted that while all states use the same calculation, each state sets its own requirements for students to earn a regular high school diploma. Georgia, he noted, has among the highest requirements in the nation for graduation.

  Area schools see long term improvements  

  School   2013     2017     Change  
  Alpharetta High School 89.2% 94.1% +4.9%
  Cambridge High School 84.3% 98.2% +13.9%
  Centennial High School 79.9% 92.3% +12.4%
  Chattahoochee High School   93.8% 98.3% +4.5%
  Independence High School 40.4% 49.3% +8.9%
  Johns Creek High School 96.4% 96.5% +0.1%
  Milton High School 96.0% 94.5% -1.5%
  Northview High School 94.2% 96.8% +2.6%
  Roswell High School 96.5% 90.7% +4.2%
  North Fulton 84.5% 90.1% +5.6%
  District 75.5% 86.8% +11.3%
  State 71.8% 80.6% +8.9%


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