Except in Perquimans, grad rates decrease slightly


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Sunday, September 10, 2017

While high school four-year graduation rates rose statewide in 2016-17, the Perquimans County Schools was the only area school district to see its rate go up.  

According to a report released by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction last week, the statewide four-year cohort graduation rate — essentially the percentage of students who graduate from high school within four years of starting ninth-grade — rose from 85.9 percent in 2015-16 to 86.5 percent in 2016-17. The state's five-year cohort graduation rate, which accounts for students who graduate within five years of starting ninth-grade, remained steady at 87.5 percent.

Across the Albemarle, the Perquimans County Schools, which reported a 90.8 percent four-year graduation rate, and the Currituck County Schools, which reported a 90.9 percent rate, exceeded the state rate.

Trailing the state rate were the Camden County Schools, which reported an 85.4 percent rate; the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools, which reported an 86.3 percent rate; and the Edenton-Chowan Schools, whose four-year rate was 84.1 percent.

The four-year graduation rates represented decreases from the previous year for all area districts except Perquimans, which saw its rate rise slightly from 90.5 percent in 2015-16.

The five-year cohort graduation rate, meanwhile, rose sharply in the Edenton-Chowan Schools, from 82.7 percent in the 2015-16 school year to 91.2 percent in 2016-17.

Five-year rates were also ahead of the state rate in Camden, which reported a 90.2 percent rate; Currituck, which reported a 93.1 percent rate; and Perquimans, which reported a 91.2 percent rate.

Elizabeth City-Pasquotank, which reported an 87.3 percent rate, barely trailed the state's five-year rate.

Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools spokeswoman Tammy Sawyer said the district is working to have all students graduate within four years,

“The ECPPS graduation rate for 2016-17 was 86.3 percent, which was consistent with the 2015-2016 rate of 86.4 percent, as well as consistent with the state four-year graduation rate of 86.5 percent,” Sawyer said. “The ECPPS graduation rate for 2014-2015 was 83.9 percent so we are pleased to see the increase within the past two years and will continue our work to have all students graduate within four years.”

Currituck Superintendent Mark Stefanik said he was pleased with the rates in Currituck, even as district officials work toward a 100 percent graduation rate.

“We are pleased that our four-year and five-year graduation rates exceed 90 percent,” Stefanik said. “We will continue our work in an effort to achieve 100-percent graduation rates, so that all of our students are career or college ready.”

Edenton-Chowan Superintendent Rob Jackson also said a 100-percent graduation rate is the goal.

“Our goal is to have 100 percent of our students graduate within four years,” Jackson said. “Although the four-year cohort graduation rate dipped slightly, we continue to emphasize the importance of graduating from high school and encourage students by continuing to work toward providing important academic opportunities, support, and resources that will help our students graduate on time."

DPI released its statewide education achievement report, which included the graduation rates, Thursday before a meeting of the State Board of Education.