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Graduation rate up, drop out rate record low

A record number of students are staying in school as the number of dropouts continues to decline in Delaware schools.  The annual Delaware Department of Education report, which will be presented to the State Board of Education at its monthly meeting Thursday, shows 817 of 38,949 students enrolled in grades 9 to 12 dropped out of school in 2013-14, a rate of 2.1 percent. That is a decrease from the previous year’s rate of 2.9 percent, which was the lowest in 30 years.

 The statewide graduation rate also showed strong gains. The 2014 rate of 84.4 percent rose from 79.9 percent in 2013 and 79.6 percent in 2012. And 76 percent of the districts/charters improved their graduation rates from 2013. The upward trend in Delaware graduation success mirrors the recently released graduation data from the U.S. Department of Education that showed the nation hitting a record high (81%) for high school graduation.

“At a time when we are asking more of our students and educators than ever before, this announcement is another sign that they continue to rise to the occasion," said Governor Jack Markell. "It should also encourage us to continue to invest in efforts that help more of our students graduate ready for college or career, from effectively implementing the Common Core Standards to our recently announced Pathways to Prosperity initiative that will offer students engaging and hands-on opportunities that are relevant for jobs in growing fields.”

Secretary of Education Mark Murphy also praised local efforts to support students. District and school leaders have pointed to initiatives such as credit recovery programs, ninth grade academies and targeted interventions, often initially funded through their federal Race to the Top grants, for improvements in recent years.

 “This is more evidence that the efforts of educators in schools across our state are working. Over the past few years we have seen increased high school success because of the support our schools are providing to students to help them complete their education,” Murphy said.

 Dropout rate

 The annual dropout rate is calculated from grades 9 to 12, as prescribed by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), which provides data to the federal reporting system. The rate represents the total number of students (grades 9-12) who dropped out in a single year, divided by the total enrollment of the same school year. Data also is collected from private schools and families who homeschool their children. That information is only used to verify whether students transferred from public to private and home schools.

The state report provides analysis based on demographics and geographic breakdowns, including by county and districts/charter schools. For 2013-14, Kent County had the lowest percentage of dropouts (1.8 percent). Statewide, 45.4 percent of those students who dropped out were black, followed by 39.4 percent white and 15.2 percent Hispanic.

Dropout Percentages by School
 

Graduation rate

 

The graduation rate tracks the percentage of 9th students who graduate within four years.

 

While the annual dropout rate provides information about one particular school year and all students enrolled in high school in that year, the graduation rate provides information about a particular group of students followed over the course of high school. It looks at all students who started high school at the 9th grade and how many graduated within four years. For this year’s data, that means students who started 9th grade in the 2010/11 school year.

 

This year’s rate is the highest since the state changed how it calculates graduation rates in 2010-11. Several of the districts praised their staff for continuing to support students in their endeavor to graduate and prepare for the future.

 

“We are excited about the improvement in the graduation rate of Woodbridge High School.  It is another example of the commitment of our staff and hard work of our students to improve the future of our community,” Woodbridge Superintendent Heath Chasanov said. “We look forward to continuing to graduate higher percentage of students each year.”

 

Laurel Superintendent John Ewald credited Laurel teachers for their “unyielding efforts to provide intervention and support to students” as well as continued districtwide efforts to strategically align professional development and support for staff, focus on college and career readiness, align district curriculum, increase access to rigorous instructional programming and to get students on college campuses to realize college as a viable option.

 

Thanks to these efforts, “the Laurel School District demonstrated success, increased the Laurel School District Graduation Rate by 15.3 percent and will continue to increase this rate annually,” he said.

 District and charter graduation rates


2012-2013

2013-2014

Appoquinimink

86.5%

94.7%

Brandywine

85.0%

84.6%

Caesar Rodney

79.9%

88.5%

Cape Henlopen

83.0%

91.0%

Capital

75.6%

83.1%

Christina

67.4%

74.5%

Colonial

70.7%

80.8%

Delmar

89.3%

92.3%

Indian River

86.6%

93.7%

Lake Forest

77.3%

82.1%

Laurel

61.4%

76.7%


2012-2013

2013-2014

Maurice J. Moyer Academic Institute

40.5%

32.1%

Milford

83.3%

84.2%

NCCVT

87.6%

93.6%

Polytech

98.1%

97.2%

Positive Outcomes

50.0%

54.5%

Red Clay

Includes Charter School of Wilmington and Delaware Military Academy

84.4%

90.3%

Seaford

74.2%

79.7%

Smyrna

77.7%

77.6%

Sussex Tech

98.7%

97.2%

Woodbridge

60.7%

82.7%


 
Alison May
alison.may@doe.k12.de.us
(302) 735-4000