The four-year graduation rate for Coweta County School System high school students rose to 85.5 percent in 2017.
The Coweta County School System’s on-time graduation rate was approximately five percent higher than the state of Georgia’s average, which rose to 80.5 percent in 2017 according to a gradation report released by the Georgia Department of Education on Wednesday.
The state’s graduation rate was 79.2 percent in 2016.
Coweta’s Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate – also called the “on-time” graduation rate, measuring the percentage of seniors who graduate four years after entering the ninth grade – rose nearly 1 point from the 2016 rate of 84.6 percent.
Superintendent Steve Barker noted that Coweta County School System students must earn a total of 28 credits to graduate high school, compared to 23 in many school systems.
“With a higher bar to reach in order to graduate, our improvement in this area continues to be encouraging,” Barker noted. “Students are offered more advanced opportunities at an earlier age – elementary through high school – and this sets them up for success as they graduate from our school system.”
“These results reflect the hard work of our students and teachers, as well as school support staff and our whole community,” said Barker.
All three Coweta County high schools had a four-year graduation rate higher than the state average, with East Coweta High School at 84.4 percent, Newnan High School at 86.0 percent, and Northgate High School at 87.8 percent in 2017.
Rising graduation rates can be traced to a number of factors, including use of data and careful tracking student performance, working closely with students to advise them and identify their individual needs, and offering multiple opportunities for student support, remediation and advanced opportunities.
“The biggest factor for us is we work hard to identify students by their needs,” said East Coweta High School Principal Steve Allen. “We track student’s progress towards graduation, and if they need support, we identify those fundamental needs and follow through with them throughout the year.
For example, East Coweta High provides an ongoing mentoring program made up of the school’s administrators and volunteers from its Community in Schools program. Mentors meet frequently with students and help teach student progress.
“There are a lot of elements that go into helping students succeed,” said Allen. “But for us, our Communities in Schools program offers us a huge value. They are another set of eyes and ears and another set of supports for our students, and they can connect with families and connect students with community support in a way that can make a huge difference.”
Georgia calculates high school graduation rates through the four-year adjusted cohort rate formula as required by the U.S. Department of Education.
The rate follows the students who enter high school together as freshmen (the ‘cohort’) who then go on to earn a diploma within four years. The calculation of the rate adjusts for student transfers.
Students who don’t graduate in that cohort may still go on to meet graduation requirements with additional semesters of coursework.
The Georgia Department of Education reported that Georgia’s public high school graduation rate has increased for the fifth consecutive year.
This is the first year Georgia’s graduation rate has risen above 80 percent using the adjusted cohort calculation required by federal law.