Coweta County Schools exceed state graduation averages


From Coweta County Schools press release

The four-year graduation rate for Coweta County School System high school students was 84.8 percent in 2018.

The Coweta County School System’s on-time graduation rate was approximately three percent higher than the state of Georgia’s average, which rose to 81.6 percent in 2018, according to a gradation report released by the Georgia Department of Education on Wednesday.

The “Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate” – also called the “on-time” graduation rate – measures the percentage of seniors who graduate four years after entering the ninth grade.  Coweta County’s rate dropped by a little less than 1 percentage point from the 2017 rate of 85.5 percent, and is roughly the same rate as it was in 2016.

Georgia’s average graduation rate has generally risen since the state began using the four-year rate adjusted rate 2012.  The state average was 69.7 percent in 2012, and 2018’s 80.6 percent state average was an all-time high for Georgia. Coweta’s rate was 79.7 percent in 2012, rose to 82 percent in 2014, and has remained between 84 percent and 86 percent since then.

Coweta County’s overall rate has remained higher than the state average despite having higher graduation standards than many other school systems in the state.  Due to block scheduling, Coweta County School System’s high school students must earn a total of 28 credits over four years to graduate high school, compared to 23 credits for many school systems.

“We continue to be above the state average while requiring more credits to graduate than many school systems in Georgia,” said Superintendent Steve Barker.  “Our schools will use the results released this week to assist them in their planning to meet their student’s needs.”

Newnan High School’s graduation rate was 75.8 percent in 2012 and rose to just over 80 percent in 2015, before rising to 87.2 percent in 2018.

Principal Chase Puckett said that Newnan High School has used a number of strategies and supports to increase graduation rates throughout that time, including:
· Relevant and challenging standards based instruction by high quality teachers.
· Individual graduation plans for each student.
· A Performance Learning Center for credit deficient students, credit recovery opportunities, online instruction with content-based support and Saturday school opportunities.
· Students-support services outside of the classroom including counseling and staff advisors, online facilitator, Community in Schools and community mentors.
· Community in Schools partnerships working with the most at risk students.
· Tutoring available during the day and before and after school.
· Screening for students in math and ELA starting in 9th grade and continuing each grading period throughout a student’s time in high school.
· Innovative scheduling opportunities, including literacy and math focus in 9th grade, literacy support classes, resequencing for science, acceleration and advanced learning opportunities through the Central Educational Center, dual-enrollment opportunities and work-based learning.
· Parent workshops targeting specific grade-level needs.
· Weekly common content planning meetings for teachers.
· Organizing professional learning communities for teachers and monitoring the impact of those opportunities by department and content area.

The approach is similar at all three Coweta County high schools.

“We focus on knowing what our students need on an individual basis to be successful and try to find resources to make each learner successful in his or her own way,” said Northgate Principal Ken Kesselring.  “We maintain high standards of rigor while supporting students in reaching graduation, ultimately preparing them for a successful future after high school.”

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.