State graduation rate sees uptick; Cherokee’s dips
May 23, 2013 11:53 PM | 2878 views | 3 3 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By Michelle Babcock

mbabcock@cherokeetribune.com

CHEROKEE — The Cherokee County School District’s 2011-12 high school graduation rate fell to 72.65 percent from the previous year’s 74.82 percent, while the statewide graduation rate rose from 67.4 percent in 2010-11 to 69.72 percent, according to figures released Tuesday by the Georgia Department of Education.

This is the second year Georgia has used the adjusted cohort rate, a common federal measurement system that details four-year graduation rates. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo said although Cherokee County schools continue to exceed the statewide graduation rate, the district is “reviewing various strategies to increase this rate.”

“It’s important to note that the state doesn’t count students who take longer than four years to graduate,” Petruzielo said. “And in Cherokee County, our rate would increase if they were counted. We focus on mastery and encourage students to take the time they need to accomplish that and complete their education, even if that means an extra semester or year of classes at their high school or at our night high school.”

Spokeswoman for the CCSD Barbara Jacoby said next year Polaris Evening School will not be factored into Cherokee County graduation rates because it will be classified as a program and not a high school.

Polaris Evening School graduation rate for 2011-12 was 6.42 percent, since only those who graduate within four years of starting high school are now included in the graduation rate. Excluding Polaris Evening School, Cherokee High School had the lowest graduation rate of Cherokee County schools at 66.6 percent.

Etowah High School had the highest graduation rate in the county at 85.11 percent followed by Creekview High School at 82.73 percent.

“The economy also has taken another toll on our schools,” Petruzielo said. “One in three Cherokee students now is living in poverty, and we know that increases the likelihood they won’t graduate in four years. As local tax revenue increases and, we hope, the state returns to its previous practice and commitment to fully funding public education, our top priorities are to restore the 180-day school calendar, decrease class size and consider re-instituting successful positions and programs that were eliminated due to state funding cuts, such as high school graduation coaches.”

Surrounding counties’ graduation rates are: Bartow at 67.29 percent, Cobb at 76 percent, DeKalb at 57.28 percent, Douglas at 72.29 percent, Fulton at 71.34 percent and Paulding at 75.49 percent.

Though the state used a different method for calculating graduation rates in 2009, the cohort method was applied to help with comparison. Georgia’s 2009 graduation rate was estimated at 58.6 percent, marking an increase of around 11 percentage points for the state since then.

In a press release from Georgia’s Department of Education, state School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said he is “very pleased that our graduation rate continues to increase, no matter how it is calculated.”

“While our graduation rate is still far too low and we have much progress to be made, we are moving in the right direction. In order to encourage more students to stay in school, we must make high school more relevant” Barge said. “Through our Career Pathways initiative, I am excited that students will see a clearer connection between what they learn in the classroom and how it applies to what they want to do after graduation.”
Comments
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Mary Cooper
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May 26, 2013
Probably due to a constant distraction of Robert's Rules by a grandstanding board member in the Board meetings instead of using that time to focus on the needs of the school system. Can you imagine if Dookes was Chair? We'd probably see the inverse in graduation rates and be operating in the red.
P has got to go
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May 24, 2013
What jester Frankie P doesn't seem to realize (or perhaps care about) is that extra semesters/years of schooling COST MONEY TO THE TAXPAYER.

Besides Frank himself, the other elephant in the room is...does Frankie P and his crew of minions factor in these extra costs in their joke of a half-billion-$$ budget? Does Frankie P & Gang factor in the reality that our overpaid teachers aren't graduating 1 of every 4 students on time when they get their automatic step raises?

I'm guessing not. If they did, that'd be one more excuse this joke of a superintendent wouldn't be able to make when his fiscal irresponsibility comes up short again.

Where's SACS when you need 'em?

Cherokee Parent
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May 26, 2013
Overpaid teachers? Really? SMH. Between that and your name calling, you've shown that you have absolutely nothing to contribute to the conversation. Perhaps some of the responsibility for the students' performance lies with the students and their families (or lack therof.) Please feel free to visit your local high school and middle school. Ask to see their school improvement plan. Check out what is in there to help students stay on track and graduate. I'd be willing to bet that if standards were changed to help more graduate, you'd complain that we were lowering standards. P.S. It's not all rosy in Forsyth, either.
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