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Gwinnett’s four-year graduation rate tops 83%; rises to more than 84% when looking at five-year rate

     On November 10, the Georgia Department of Education announced that Georgia’s graduation rate rose to an all-time high in 2019, reaching 83.8%. Gwinnett County Public Schools experienced an increase in its four-year graduation rate this year, moving from 80.92% to 83.23%, an increase of 2.31% over the previous year and a 3.67% increase over the last five years. 

     In looking at this year’s four-year graduation rate in Gwinnett, 17 high schools experienced increases with the largest gains seen by Mountain View High School, Gwinnett Online Campus, Discovery High School,  and Lanier High School. Gwinnett schools with the highest graduation rates in 2020 were Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (GSMST), McClure Health Science High School, North Gwinnett High School, and Lanier High School, followed closely by Grayson, Brookwood, Mill Creek, Peachtree Ridge, and Mountain View high schools. In all, 15 Gwinnett schools posted four-year graduation rates that surpassed the state average.

     Mountain View High School Principal Keith Chaney is excited about his school’s progress and believes that their success is the result of strong collaborative planning and processes between departments within the school, including curriculum and instruction, counseling, content area teachers, and clerical staff.  He says, “We have a strong staff of teachers and counselors who are incredibly focused on ensuring that our students are successful and graduate on time and we look to continue to improve on this past year's success.”    

     At North Gwinnett High School, the school’s improvement on its already high graduation rate is a point of pride for Principal Nathan Ballantine and their school community. He says, “We are so proud of the progress we have made in increasing our graduation rate as it is affirmation of the work we are doing to prepare our students for their college and career choices. However, it also speaks to the partnership all of our cluster schools play in a child’s success. Collectively, we have continued to make graduation a priority for all of our students and we work to better support each student, eliminating barriers as they work toward graduation.”

     At Meadowcreek High School, Principal Kevin Wood says his school’s teachers and students have put forth tremendous effort and dedication, which has resulted in an 81% graduation rate, continuing an upward trend since 2011. “Our students took advantage of the many research-based academic programs offered by the school, such as the academy model, which increased student engagement and allowed each student to pursue an education tailored to their interests. This past year’s graduating class exceeded the graduation requirements for the state of Georgia and are well prepared for both college and careers beyond high school.”  

     Dr. Steve Flynt, the district’s associate superintendent for School Improvement and Operations, commends the work of Gwinnett’s high schools and the educators who work within them, saying, “Especially during this challenging time, we are extremely proud of our students, teachers, and staff who have remained focused on graduation. Our students continue to put in the hard work and effort to complete the rigorous graduation requirements while our teachers and staff provide the instruction and support to help make sure every student can excel and be prepared for postsecondary learning, a career, and ultimately life.”

     Georgia calculates “a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate,” as required by federal law. This rate is the number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class. From the beginning of 9th grade, students who are entering that grade for the first time form a cohort that is subsequently “adjusted” by adding any students who transfer into the cohort during the next three years, and subtracting any students who transfer out. 

     A review of the district’s five-year graduation rate, indicates GCPS continues to deliver on its commitment to ensuring students who need extra time and opportunity receive the support they need to successfully graduate. In 2019, the district’s four-year graduation rate was 80.92%. Since May of 2019, GCPS’ rate has increased to 84.45% as additional members of the Class of 2019 successfully met all graduation requirements. The five-year rate includes students who graduated after summer school or additional time in school beyond their cohort’s May graduation date. 

     While all states use the same calculation, each state sets its own requirements for students to earn a regular high school diploma. Georgia has some of the highest requirements in the nation for students to graduate with a regular diploma with Gwinnett County requirements surpassing those of the state. 

2020 Four-Year Graduation Rate for Gwinnett County Public Schools

2020 Graduation rates chart