School officials comment on graduation rates
by Mark Andrews
Dec 18, 2013 | 1631 views | 0 0 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With graduation rates being released last week, Bartow County and Cartersville city school officials have weighed in on the results.

“Although our drop was not significant statistically, we still are concerned about students not being successful,” Cartersville Assistant Superintendent Ken Clouse said. “Part of that is students have to take responsibility themselves about being persistant and not dropping out and staying with it.”

Clouse said it was important to recognize that some students may not graduate with their senior class, but continue to work toward their diploma and graduate from high school at a later date.

“I know that on a regular basis on any given year we will have anywhere from between four and eight student who come back after their class has graduated. Sometimes it’s a year later, sometimes it’s a summer later, sometimes it’s a couple of years later to receive their diploma because they’ve met the requirements,” Clouse said. “We like to celebrate that and that’s why we make a big deal out of it at our board meeting and hold a graduation ceremony.”

He continued, “It is so important at this day and time because a high school education is the bottom rung — if you don’t have that, you’re really going to be hurting in the economic world that we live in.”

Bartow County Superintendent John Harper said he wants to see the county high schools’ rate improve.

“It’s a four-year graduation rate and what I’ve been focusing on is the year-to-year graduation rate,” Harper said. “It picks up a little bit and then it falls back off and we’re all concerned [that] we have a large number, or percentage, of kids that don’t graduate and that’s the reason why we set up the [Bartow County College and Career Academy]. They have a standard graduation rate of about 95 percent and when you go over and talk to those children they really want to be there.

“Our principals are working harder to get more of our kids through to graduation, but there is apathy among children who, for whatever reason, whether it being lack of family support or they just don’t have the desire, choose not to follow through. I’m not happy about the graduation rate overall for that four- or five-year period, but we’ll keep making progress with that.”

Overall, the Bartow County School System saw a decrease in the graduation rate from 67.29 percent to 66.8 percent. The total number of graduating students decreased from 716 to 675 and the graduation class size decreased from 1,064 to 1,010.

Cartersville City Schools, host to Cartersville High School, saw a decrease in its graduation rate, moving from 84.5 percent to 77.7 percent. The total number of students graduating decreased from 229 to 223 and the graduating class size increased from 271 to 287 students.

Adairsville High School’s rate went up from 64.92 percent to 66.3 percent. The total number of students graduating increased from 161 to 169 and the graduating class size increased from 248 to 255 students.

Cass High School saw a decrease in the rate from 66.39 percent to 59 percent. The total number of students graduating decreased from 239 to 197 and the class size decreased from 360 to 334 students.

Woodland High School’s rate went up from 70.85 percent to 74.5 percent. The total number of students graduating decreased from 316 to 309 and the class size decreased from 446 to 415 students.

This year, Georgia public high schools increased their overall rate from 69.7 percent in 2012 to 71.5 percent in 2013 — and more than four percentage points from 2011, which was at 67.5 percent. This is the third year Georgia has calculated the graduation rate using the adjusted cohort rate formula.

According to a press release from the Georgia Department of Education, “The four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate defines the cohort based on when a student first becomes a freshman. The rate is calculated using the number of students who graduate within four years and includes adjustments for student transfers. The U.S. Department of Education requires all 50 states to use the cohort rate to calculate graduates.”