GCS Graduation Rate Reaches New High of 88.5 Percent

District’s rate exceeds state average of 83.8
percent, jumps 2.3 points from 2013

"For the sixth consecutive year, Guilford County Schools’ (GCS) graduation rate has set a new record. The Class of 2014 had a graduation rate of 88.5 percent, besting last year’s rate of 86.2 percent and exceeding the 2014 state average of 83.8 percent.

This year’s graduation rate is 20 percent higher than in 2006, when the state began calculating graduation based on a four-year cohort. At that time, GCS’ graduation rate was 74 percent, a difference of 14.5 percentage points from 2014. The four-year cohort essentially measures the number of students who entered ninth grade in 2010-11 and graduated four years later.

“We are incredibly proud of our students, teachers and staff, who prove that hard work and determination pays off,” said GCS Superintendent Maurice “Mo” Green. “Once again, the data shows Guilford County Schools is making great strides in our efforts to ensure every student reaches this milestone.”

The Class of 2014 set records across the district:

  • 663 students qualified for Cool To Be Smart, earning passing scores in at least five Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) exams or receiving a B or better in at least five qualifying college courses;
  • Approximately 37 percent of graduates passed at least one AP course. Compare that to data from the Class of 2013, which was 32.4 percent in GCS, 19.3 percent in North Carolina and 20.1 percent nationally;
  • 914 students qualified for Cool To Serve: 477 seniors earned a Service-Learning Diploma for completing more than 250 hours of service during high school and 437 graduates earned an Exemplary Award for completing at least 100 hours of service; and,
  • Graduates earned a record-breaking $149,462,070 in total scholarship dollars offered. The total reflects athletic, academic, fine arts, merit, need-based and military scholarships and grants, and exceeded the previous record of $139 million in 2012.

Seven schools achieved 100-percent graduation rates, including The Middle College at Bennett, The Middle College at N.C. A&T, Penn-Griffin School for the Arts, The Academy at Central, The Academy at Smith, The Early College at Guilford and Weaver Academy.

This is the fourth year in a row The Middle College at Bennett has graduated all its students. It’s one of only two all-female high schools in North Carolina, and started in 2003 as a school serving high school juniors and seniors who were at risk of dropping out. By 2006, the school expanded to include ninth and tenth-graders. Students take both high school and college courses while enrolled, and can earn up to two years of transferable college credits by the time they graduate.

“Our success comes from the personal connections and nurturing environment we provide for our students,” says Middle College at Bennett Principal Esther Coble. “Our girls are encouraged to set and meet high goals, and they can strive higher, knowing we are there to support them.”

Fourteen other schools achieved graduation rates over 90 percent, including 10 traditional schools with larger student populations: Andrews High, Greensboro College Middle College, Grimsley High, GTCC-Greensboro, GTCC-High Point, GTCC Jamestown, Northeast High, Northern High, Northwest High, Page High, Ragsdale High, Southeast High, Southern High and Southwest High. Andrews, Grimsley, Page and Southern High schools met or exceeded the 90 percent mark for the first time this year.

Southwest High’s record 96 percent graduation rate is nearly four percentage points higher than last year. Principal Alan Parker credits the rise to monitoring how students are doing throughout their four years at Southwest, in addition to that critical senior year.

“Our graduation team works with and monitors seniors during their entire last year,” Parker said. “Constant communication with parents while providing extra resources and options to pass classes helps ensure everyone crosses the stage at graduation.”

GCS is recognized nationally for its commitment and success in providing high school students with challenging academic programs tied to national and international standards. The district also is known for its nine early and middle colleges and other high school options that give students the opportunity to choose schools that best meet their needs and interests.

That includes challenging students with 28 different Advanced Placement (AP) courses offered districtwide, as well as the prestigious International Baccalaureate (IB) program at four GCS high schools.

During their high school career, members of the Class of 2014 took 4,542 AP and IB exams and 1,071 college courses. In addition, 170 students passed at least 10 AP or IB exams and/or qualifying college courses, a 60-percent increase over the Class of 2013. In just four years, GCS high school students also completed more than 830,890 hours of service in their schools and across Guilford County.

“We are graduating more students who are ready to be leaders in college or in a career, as well as in their communities,” Green said. “Our students worked hard during their time with GCS, and I’m confident they will continue the tradition of excellence that started here.”

About Guilford County Schools

Guilford County Schools, the third largest school district in North Carolina, serves more than 72,500 students at 127 schools. With approximately 10,000 employees, the district’s mission is to graduate responsible citizens who are prepared to succeed in higher education or the career of their choice. Guilford County Schools is a national leader in providing specialized schools and instructional programs designed to meet the educational needs of a culturally diverse citizenship. For more information, visit the district’s website at www.gcsnc.com."

- A Press Release

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