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CMS graduation rate rises to 85.2 percent

The four-year cohort graduation rate at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools rose to 85.2 percent in 2013-2014, according to preliminary results released by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. It was the fifth consecutive year of increase in graduation rate for the district.

The four-year cohort graduation rate for CMS has increased by 15.3 percentage points since 2010. More than half of CMS high schools have a graduation rate of more than 90 percent. When broken out by subgroups of students, the district also shows graduation rates rising in every subgroup.

“The graduation rate is an important indicator of our success as a district,” said Dr. Heath E. Morrison, CMS superintendent. “Graduating from high school is essential to ensure that our students succeed in the workplace of tomorrow. It is encouraging that our graduation rate continues to rise – and it is also a testament to the dedication and effectiveness of all of our employees. We will continue to push forward and will not be satisfied until every child graduates prepared for a better tomorrow.”

The four-year cohort graduation rate is the percentage of students who graduate in four years. The figures released by CMS are preliminary until they are certified by the North Carolina State Board of Education, which is expected to occur at the board’s Sept. 4 meeting.

The CMS four-year cohort graduation rate is higher than the national average for 2012, the most recent year for which statistics are available. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the primary federal entity for collecting, analyzing and reporting data related to education, the national graduation rate in 2012 was 80 percent. The North Carolina graduation rate will be released with other state data on Sept. 4.

“High school graduation – getting every student ready to receive that diploma – is the focus of every CMS employee,” said Principal Tracey Harrill of Providence High School. “You can’t wait until senior year to think about graduation. At Providence, we monitor the progress of every student very closely to be sure they’re on track and staying on track. We check and double-check our scheduling, to make sure students are getting what they need. It’s a school-wide and district-wide effort.”

Graduation rates are also reported for four subgroups of students: white, black, Asian and Hispanic students. Rates for all subgroups have increased in 2013-2014 and all are significantly higher than they were in 2009-2010. For white students, the graduation rate in 2013-2014 was 93.0 percent, up from 84.9 percent in 2009-2010. For Asian students, the graduation rate was 87.7 percent, up from 76.4 percent in 2009-2010.  For black students, the graduation rate in 2013-2014 was 82.5 percent, up from 61.6 percent five years ago, and for Hispanic students, the graduation rate was 74.6 percent, up from 54.6 percent five years ago.

“We are very encouraged to see the graduation rates rising in every subgroup – especially the two-digit gains we’re seeing in black and Hispanic student graduation rates,” Dr. Morrison said. “This is the way we close gaps: All groups move ahead but the groups that are lagging move ahead at a faster rate – and that’s precisely what is happening in CMS.”

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