High schools in Douglas County saw a slight dip in the graduation rate in 2016, but with a district average of 87.1 percent, the county fared better than the state average of 79.2 percent, according to a report released last week by the Georgia Department of Education.
The rate in Douglas County went from 88.2 percent in 2015 to 87.1 percent in 2016.
The 2015 graduation rates were up double digits from 2014 in Douglas County and across the state. Many critics, including former local teacher Jeremy Noonan, who heads the education transparency group Citizens for Excellence in Public Schools, attribute the big increase in graduation rates to the elimination of the state graduation test in 2014 and online credit recovery programs like e2020.
Still, Douglas County Schools Superintendent Gordon Pritz said he was happy with the results.
“We are still up 11.5 points from 2014 and we maintained having the second highest rate in the state of Georgia of districts our size or larger, with only Forsyth County scoring higher,” said Douglas County Schools Superintendent Gordon Pritz. “It is important to note that every senior class is different and comparisons can be unfair, but still, a graduation rate of 87.1 percent is very commendable. Of course that commendation goes out to our Class of 2016 students and all teachers across the district that instill the importance of earning a high school diploma as early as kindergarten. Their hard work and dedication to our students is inspiring.”
The Douglas County School System's graduation average rate was higher than the average rate in school districts in Carroll, Cherokee, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Henry, Newton, Paulding and Rockdale counties and city school districts in Atlanta, Cartersville, Gainesville and Marietta.
According to the Douglas County School System, U.S. Department of Education mandates require that Georgia report the graduation rate using the adjusted cohort rate. The four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate defines the cohort when a student first enters ninth grade and is calculated based on the number of students that graduate within four years.
Two Douglas County High Schools increased their four-year cohort rate — Alexander High School, which went from 89.7 percent to 90.2 and Chapel Hill High School, which went from 89.6 percent to 91.
Douglas County High School had a slight decrease from 87 percent to 85.5, Lithia Springs showed a slight decrease from 87.7 to 84.8 and New Manchester High School dipped from 89.3 to 86.5.
“Every year our teachers, counselors, and administrators focus on providing the necessary support and resources for students in kindergarten through 12th grades with graduation from high school being the goal. We always hope for an increased rate over the previous year,” said Pam Nail, chief academic officer for DCSS. “This year we saw a decline, but it wasn’t significant. However, we must continue to work hard to support all students so that they are positioned to graduate in four years and prepared to attend college or enter the workforce.”
Information from the Georgia Department of Education and the Douglas County School System was used in this article.
GRADUATION RATES IN DOUGLAS COUNTY
School | Class Size 2015 | Class Size 2016 | Total Graduated 2015 | Total Graduated 2016 | 2015% | 2016%
Alexander 436 410 391 370 89.7 90.2
Chapel Hill 288 311 258 283 89.8 91.0
Douglas County 485 463 422 396 87.0 85.5
Lithia Springs 310 348 272 295 87.8 84.8
New Manchester 428 466 382 403 89.3 86.5
District 1,956 2,005 1,725 1,747 88.2 87.1