On September 19, the Georgia Department of Education announced that Georgia’s graduation rate rose to an all-time high in 2018, reaching 81.6%. Just as the state’s rate has continued to rise, so has the rate for Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS). Over the past four years, GCPS’ graduation rate has risen from 78.1% to 81.7% with nine Gwinnett high schools reporting a graduation rate of more than 90% in 2018.
Dr. Steve Flynt, the district’s associate superintendent for School Improvement and Operations, is pleased with the incremental gains the district has made over the past few years. “A diploma from a Gwinnett high school states that a student has not just met, but surpassed the graduation requirements of the state. It is not just about our students completing high school or our schools raising graduation rates. Our work and the programs offered in Gwinnett high schools are designed to help prepare our graduates for college and careers.” He also gives credit for these gains to educators throughout the district, sharing, “Often, people think about just the work of the high school when we talk about graduation rates; however, graduation is the culmination of 13 years of teaching and learning. The work we do, day in and day out at all grade levels, contributes to our students being prepared for college, careers, and their future.”
Georgia calculates what is called “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. 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.