East Jackson Comprehensive High School notched a 97.4 percent graduation rate, leading all high schools in the county and joining four other schools in a tie for the 15th spot among the state’s 447 ranked schools (29 schools had “too few students” to be listed in the rankings, according to the Georgia Department of Education).
The Eagles raised their percentage by a full point from last year’s 96.4 rate. The Class of 2019 had 162 of its 168 students graduate in the four years since starting ninth grade.
Jackson County Comprehensive High School was one of five schools across the state logging a 94.6 percent graduation rate, placing it in the 36th spot in the state rankings. That represented an increase for the Panthers of 2.8 points from the 91.8 recorded in 2018. The Class of 2019 had 246 of its 268 students graduate in the four years since starting ninth grade.
The Jackson County School System’s overall rate of 95.8 ranked it (with three other systems) at No. 11. The system raised its percentage from 93.6 in 2018.
“We are thrilled to see these results,” said Dr. April Howard, JCSS superintendent. “They clearly demonstrate the impact of the leadership of our faculty and staff on the performance of our students. We all are focused on success for our students, in the classroom and in their lives as they move on to join our community as young adults.”
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State rate rises again
The state’s overall high school graduation rate also increased in 2019, rising to 82 percent – an all-time high since the state began using the adjusted cohort calculation now required by federal law – according to information released by the GaDOE on Wednesday, Sept. 18.
In 2019, 71 Georgia school districts recorded graduation rates at or above 90 percent. Twenty-four districts recorded rates at or above 95 percent.
“I’m proud today of Georgia’s teachers and students, who are doing the on-the-ground work that leads to increases in our graduation rate and other indicators – including NAEP and Georgia Milestones scores,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said.
“Moving forward, we must continue to focus on offering a relevant education and preparing every child for their future – not a one-size-fits-all system that sends every student in the same direction, but a tailored and personalized pathway based on a student’s academic and career interests and future goals.”
How Georgia calculates its graduation rate
Georgia calculates a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate as required by federal law. This rate is the number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma, divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class.
Adjusted Cohort Rate Definition
From the beginning of ninth grade, students who are entering that grade for the first time form a cohort that is subsequently adjusted by adding any students who transfer into the cohort during the next three years, and subtracting any students who transfer out.
Note regarding federal waiver
As announced in July 2019, Georgia is seeking flexibility through an amendment to its state plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to develop a state-defined alternate diploma for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who are assessed using the alternate assessment aligned to alternate academic achievement standards.
Because in Georgia the regular diploma is considered a property right, the state is constrained from offering the new Alternate Diploma until the 2020-2021 school year, when a new cohort of ninth-grade students begins. In addition to its requested ESSA amendment, Georgia has requested a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education so that it is not necessary to remove students assessed using the alternate assessment from the four-year cohort rate prior to adoption of the Alternate Diploma.
While this waiver, which would apply to federal reporting of the graduation rate, is still pending, to maintain consistency in its public reporting Georgia is publishing the graduation rate including students assessed using the alternate assessment today.