Friday, September 5, 2014

Steps forward and back in high school graduation rates

CMS celebrated its increasing graduation rate this week. It hit a new high at 85.2 percent, edging out the state of North Carolina as a whole and Wake County.

It wasn't until the next day that the school-by-school numbers came out, and as you'd expect there's both good news and not-as-good news.

  • Hawthorne High near uptown Charlotte had the biggest leap in graduation rate, to 90.6 percent from 65.9 percent the year before. The school is a bit of an unusual case, though. For years, Hawthorne was an alternative school. CMS decided last year to turn it into a medical science academy magnet school, and brought in some new students this year in that program. The graduating classes each year are also exceedingly small: only 29 students this year.
  • Lincoln Heights Academy posted the lowest graduation rate at 66.7 percent. It's a school designed for students with behavioral issues. You can't compare this year's rate with past performance, however. The school was formerly known as Lincoln Heights Elementary, and only re-opened with high school students in 2011. That means a full class of seniors hadn't come through until this year.
  • West Charlotte High posted another sizable increase in its graduation rate year, moving from 71.1 percent to 78 percent. The school made headlines last year by jumping 15 points in a single year. It's still the lowest graduation rate among high schools with a traditional population, however.
  • Fifteen schools had graduation rates above 90 percent, just more than half of the 29 total schools with reported figures.
  • Seven schools had graduation rates above 95 percent this year, which is the cut-off point where the state no longer gives a specific figure but instead just reports that the graduation rate was somewhere above that line. Ardrey Kell, Mallard Creek, Northwest School of the Arts, and Providence were repeats from last year. The Military and Global Leadership Academy and the Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology were new entrants on the list. The Performance Learning Center fell off the list, coming in at 93.2 percent this year.
  • Garinger High took the biggest step back this year, falling from 92.2 percent to 87.6 percent. 
Here's a full table I compiled, for your perusal:

Ardrey Kell High> 95> 95
Butler High91.893.4
Cato Middle College High> 95> 95
East Mecklenburg High83.583.8
Garinger High87.692.2
Harding University High87.687.6
Hawthorne High90.665.9
Hopewell High87.586.5
Independence High88.684.4
Lincoln Heights Academy66.7n/a
Mallard Creek High> 95> 95
Military and Global Leadership Academy> 9592.6
Myers Park High91.385.6
North Mecklenburg High92.388
Northwest School of the Arts> 95> 95
Olympic High - Biotech Health Pub Admin88.585
Olympic High - Intl Study, Global Econ8576.2
Olympic High - Renaissance School91.583.8
Olympic High -Intl Bus and Comm Studies82.585.5
Olympic High-Math Eng Tech Science92.893
Performance Learning Center93.2> 95
Phillip O Berry Academy of Technology> 9591.8
Providence High> 95> 95
Rocky River High88.992.6
South Mecklenburg High90.888
Vance High84.281.3
West Charlotte High7871.1
West Mecklenburg High8577.4
William Amos Hough High92.492.2


Anonymous said...

I think it is important to note that schools with special populations often take a "hit" on their graduation rates due to NC legislative decisions. As per federal law, a student with significant special needs may remain in school even after they have earned or completed all requirements until the age of 21. So, if a parent of a student with special needs opts to, their child may remain past the "cohort" deadline, so to speak. When this happens, it actually "hurts" a school's graduation rate. Yep, the state of NC counts it against a school from a "data" perspective if a parent exercises their right as provided under federal law and opts to allow their child to stay at the high school. So, a school might have EVERY single regular ed student graduate, but it can never be 100%. Kinda' crafty how the NC legislators maneuver so they can cast schools in a more negative light and move further toward privatization, etc.

Anonymous said...

Jobs without college degree:

Chipolte Manager $50,000 +

Truck Driver $50,000 +

COSTCO Manager $100,00 +

Teacher with Masters Degree and over 20 years experience $50,000

And still paying off student loans

Anonymous said...

Home School or Privatization

The only 2 options there should be. How much out ot the over 1 BILLION DOLLAR budget do you think is abused, wasted and STOLEN in our local school system ?

Wiley Coyote said...

...smoke and mirrors.

Anonymous said...



Zippo said...

7:33pm How many "special" kids are we actually talking here that hurt the graduation rates? I guess as long as the state is paying for the kids to continue in the system, their numbers will be counted. Big deal. I think the bigger issue here is the number of "standard"(for lack of a better word) students who the system is actually graduating (to inflate the grad %)who really shouldn't be graduating at all. I think those are the numbers that would be more surprising to the public, and CMS staff no in the know.

Anonymous said...

What are the CMS drop out rates? How many students drop out of the system in 9th? 10th? 11th 12th? Do we have those numbers?

Anonymous said...

American students have lost the grit, drive and determination to learn because of the culture we live in, too much has been given to them. They all have an ease of life (cars, iphones, food, decent living quarters, etc...) and the parents continually coddle them so that they are "special, happy. comfortable and accommodated" at all times.

Our kids are the most narcissistic in history, sadly even the young ones. Parents have become lazy and spend more time on their tech devices or at the workplace rather than actually spending TIME with their kids, and talking about meaningful subjects. Now the schools want to accommodate every single "learning style" (misnomer) and let the children decide their own learning paths. Let's just keep accommodating everyone until all difficulties have ceased from their dear lives. Until we teach our children the value of hard work, doing uncomfortable tasks and working through problems will they ever be able to achieve anything valuable in life.

Anonymous said...

With CMS giving every student a minimum grade of 50 on every assignment for simply writing their name on the page, and allowing students to retake tests to give students a second chance to pass, how can anyone be surprised that the overall graduation rate is now rising.

Nothing needs to change in the classroom when the standards are being dumbed down as is the case here.

So, CMS your students aren't necessarily performing any better. You're holding them to a different, less stringent standard.

Anonymous said...

Is this jump in graduation rate achieved in CMS under Morrison like the jump in graduation rate achieved by the Reno school district under his watch? Smoke and mirrors all around!

Tallying kids differently there; questionable grade recovery on computers here...I guess if it looks better then Morrison will be courted by different districts...hmm...

Anonymous said...

anon 11:AM,
That's amusing, you make a negative comment about parents spending too much time on high devices and yet you are using one to post a comment.

However, I do agree with you, seems like everyone has become addicted to high tech devices and he internet. Seems like we can't do anything without our cell phones.

as some others have suggested, I also wonder if the improved graduation rate is due to a lowering of the standards.

Shamash said...

Anon 11:09.

"Parents have become lazy and spend more time on their tech devices or at the workplace rather than actually spending TIME with their kids, and talking about meaningful subjects."

I know what you're saying in general, but with some parents, the kids might be better off without too much guidance.

Like from that "Drive a Truck"
fella (or gal).

I knew more than a few kids who thought they'd work the farm, chop wood or work in the steel mills based on what their parents told them life in the "real world".

Only to find that the world had other plans for their futures.

Those planning to perhaps drop out of college to pursue high paying jobs at Costco, McDonalds, or Chipotle may be surprised.

It seems that most kids only hear their parents when they have poor advice to give.

But as they say in the financial world, "past performance is no guarantee of future results".

Anonymous said...

Over 300,000 Truck Driving Jobs

open in the US right now. A first year truck driver will make more and have a better benefits package than a 20+ year teacher.


Anonymous said...

1:50am Thank you for your concern. Our three children are grown and gone and don't live with us anymore, and don't have any plans on coming back (thankfully).

My point seemed to be missed by you. I never said technology was bad, but tried to make the point that the younger ones are so dependent on these things, they can't get through the day without the phones and gadgets. They want and assume everything will come easily for them, when in life it doesn't work that way. Seems as if parents and schools are trying to accommodate too much. They need to work for it.

Anonymous said...

Graduation rate numbers are a sham:
How do they account for students who move in, move out (or did they drop out?).
Lowered credits needed.
Lowered standards.
Dumbing down of tests to get the results they need.

Anonymous said...

I assume that the drop-out numbers are not included in these graduation numbers?

Anonymous said...

"The principal shall review the recommendation in conjunction with other relevant information and decide whether the student has met the exit standard for the course. The principal’s decision shall be submitted to the appropriate Zone Superintendent for approval."

Anonymous said...

Teacher, Physical Education $77,036.70

Anonymous said...

Teacher, Middle School Physical Education $83,372.70

Anonymous said...

Every High School Principal =

$100,000 +

Why do the Zone supers make even more than that? What the heck are the principals being paid to do or what the heck do we need zone supers to do?

I am postivive that many CMeS principals are not worth the salary of 1 first year teacher much less 4 !

Anonymous said...

PE teacher, Elem school $68,000

Anonymous said...

What is the passing GPA in CMS?

Anonymous said...

The "passing grade" in CMS is anything the principal wants it to be. The get to have the final say. Funny how their evaluation and bonus is partly based on the graduation rate.

Teachers get nothing on this and were never paid the ABC Bonus money from the Department of Education 6 years ago.

Great system for your frontline employees Board of Education and North Carolina. No wonder you cannot retain the "best and brightest". This so called "7% raise" is a sham in the greatest injustice.


Anonymous said...

PE Teachers that are THEMSELVES overweight and teaching an entire generation that is 1/3 obese. This generation will bankrupt the health care system.

Money well spent CMS. Business as ususal.

Anonymous said...

Well, it ain't like I've gained any respect going from a certified dance teacher to a certified 5th grade Sinapore math and social studies teacher.

Kind a thinkn' the average PE teacher is a whole lot smarter than most of ya'll thank.


Anonymous said...


You dont have your CDL already?

What a shame

Anonymous said...

More $ spent on Project Lift (55 Million) school West Charlotte.

No Measureable Results Yet !

Anonymous said...

It makes me sick to my stomach 4:03. You have the most vulnerable population in CMS schools looking at the great and powerful athletes come through with new books... no wait... more wait... more English wait, um new after school tutoring, um no, these kids get a $200,000 new football turf. Give me a break on priorities. They should be teaching these kids that only less than 1% of the population only makes in professional sports instead of continuing the fake dreaming and continued thinking that sports is your only way out.

Wiley Coyote said...

How many of you who are livid over the new turf for West Charlotte, voted for the last two bond packages?

The vote before last included $5 MILLION for upgrades to West Meck's stadium, press box and you guessed it - synthetic turf for the field.

Anonymous said...

Hundreds of Millions spent on the Project Lift Schools and Trillions spent since LBJ. When will the so called educated people learn that money is not the solution to this problem ?

Anonymous said...

Are you serious or is this a joke? I guess CMS is showing us all once again where their priorities are, sports over academics.

Wiley Coyote said...


$517 MILLION.....

2007 bond projects

Here’s the status of the construction and renovation projects promised when voters approved $517 million in bonds for CMS in 2007. The recession slowed progress as the county restricted borrowing to hold down debt payments. Dates are actual or anticipated completion.


• New schools: Berewick Elementary (2009), Hough High (2010), River Gate Elementary (2009), River Oaks Elementary (2009), Stoney Creek Elementary (2009), Ridge Road Middle (2009), Rocky River High (2009), Whitewater Middle (2009).

• Renovations: Alexander Graham Middle (2012), South Mecklenburg High (2012), West Charlotte High (2008).

In progress

• New schools: Grand Oak Elementary (Torrence Creek relief, 2013), elementary to relieve Lake Wylie (2014)

• Renovations: Bain Elementary (full replacement, 2013), East Mecklenburg High (2014), Garinger High (2014), Independence High (2015), McClintock Middle (full replacement, 2013), Myers Park High (2016), Pineville Elementary (full replacement, 2013), Ranson Middle (2015), Vance High (2014).


• New schools: Elementary to relieve Hickory Grove, Reedy Creek and Grier (2015); elementary to relieve David Cox and Mallard Creek (2016).

• Renovations: Newell Elementary (full replacement, 2015); Garinger High track and field (2014), Hawthorne (2016), Olympic High stadium and field (2014), West Mecklenburg High stadium, track and field (2014).


• New prekindergarten addition proposed for Grier Elementary has been moved to the new school that will be built nearby.


• Renovations for Amay James Prekindergarten Center and Davidson IB Middle were not needed after CMS closed those in 2011.

Anonymous said...

Wiley, I don't see any additions or renovations coming to our overcrowded south charlotte schools. With more homes and apartments being built in the area, I;m kindof getting tired of my kids sitting on the floor at AK.

Anonymous said...


There is no need to worry about academics anymore, the graduation rates are up.

Anonymous said...

How is grad rate determined?
What is the formula?
How do they account for kids who leave - do they say the have moved?
The % means nothing without knowing whether cohorts, etc where the way it is calculated. What does "graduated" mean? Pushed thru or actually learned the material?

Anonymous said...

Is this how it is done? (with current year):

4-Year Cohort Graduation Rate:
(Number of on-time graduates in 2010) / [(Number of first-time entering 9th grade students in 2006) + (Number of transfers to the class of 2010) – (# of transfers out of the class of 2010)] x 100

Of course there is no perfect way to determine whether someone transfers or quits.

Anonymous said...

Sad- no new stories. Plenty to research ranging from personalized learning, kids sitting on the floor at AKHS and kids at op elementary eating lunch at 1:30.

Anonymous said...

CMS, Why know STEM programs in south charlotte? I think Endhaven elementary school is the ONLY elem school in south charlotte to offer a decent science program to their students.