Cobb, Marietta high school graduation rates increase
by Lindsay Field
May 25, 2013 11:58 PM | 4910 views | 5 5 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta High School graduation
Marietta High School graduation
slideshow
McEachern High School graduation
McEachern High School graduation
slideshow
MARIETTA — High schools in both the Cobb and Marietta school systems reported increases in the number of students who graduated compared to last year, but only Cobb’s rates were higher than the state’s overall rate.

The rate for Cobb’s 16 high schools, which was determined by the 2012 graduation figures, is 76 percent. It was 73 percent in 2011. Marietta High’s is 62 percent, compared to 59 percent in 2011.

The number for Georgia in 2012 is 70 percent.

The rates are determined by the number of students who enter high school in ninth grade and graduate within four years.

Ten of Cobb high schools’ graduation rates stayed the same or showed increases in the percentage of students that graduated. These schools are Walton, Wheeler, Pope, Allatoona, Sprayberry, McEachern, Wheeler, North Cobb, Osborne and South Cobb.

Amy Krause, Cobb’s chief academic officer, said she was pleased with the results.

“Although the method of calculating the graduation rate has changed, we exceeded our district target for improvements as set in our Strategic Plan,” she said.

The state department changed the graduation rate calculation in 2011. Beforehand, the rate only accounted for the percentage of students who started and completed their 12th grade year in a school.

The county school with the largest increase is Osborne. The Marietta-area school’s graduation rate increased by 22 percentage points, from 43 percent in 2011 to 65 percent in 2012.

“This is awesome news,” said Osborne Principal Josh Morreale. “I had a strong feeling that we were definitely making great improvements.”

He attributes the increase to the school’s focus on how they teach, the relationship between students and teachers, and reminding students that the faculty truly believes in them.

“I really think the relationship piece with the instruction has built success at Osborne,” he said.

Morreale said he recognizes there is still room for a higher graduation rate.

“Even with this increase, we’re still going to have areas that improvement is needed,” he said. “I know that and we’ll continue to do that.”

The schools in Cobb that reported drops in the graduation rate were Kennesaw Mountain, Kell, Lassiter, Hillgrove, Campbell and Pebblebrook.

As far as how Cobb Schools will improve on these scores, Krause said each have identified specific strategies to obtain success.

“There are challenges that each school works through such as student transiency, teachers transfers, etc., that make it difficult for some schools,” she said.

“However, our principals and teachers rally together to meet those challenges head on and provide supports for students to make the difference. The commitment from our teachers and administrators and from our community, who all believe in an excellent education, will continue to move us forward.”

For Marietta High School, the rate increased by 3 percentage points from 59 to 62.

“I recognize that there is some improvement but I think that everyone recognizes that we still have a good ways to go to improve the number of students who are graduating,” said Marietta Superintendent Emily Lembeck.

Student mobility, or the transient rate, continues to play a role in the city school district’s rate.

Lembeck’s staff is working to improve its way of tracking students who withdraw or transfer from Marietta City Schools.

If a student enters the school at any grade level in high school and leaves without informing the district of where they are going, that student is counted against Marietta High’s graduation rate.

Lembeck said her district’s mobility rate is high because of the percent of rental properties in the city limits. Approximately 58 percent of property in the city is rented, according to 2010 U.S. Census data.

“We are not making excuses,” she said. “We would prefer much larger gains, but some of what we’re doing is in the development phase and the implementation phase for those students in ninth grade.”

The district’s strategic plan, graduation campaign and charter renewal includes ways to improve the rate, starting at the freshman year.

Lembeck said data shows that the shift from middle school to high school can influence the dropout rates.

“You can’t underscore the importance of the social and organizational skills that students need to have as they enter the high school and go through a maturation phase,” Lembeck said. “For some students, that is very challenging.”
Comments
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Justice for all
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May 27, 2013
Congratulations to the Marietta City Schools graduates. To continue to increase the graduation rate in our school system will take a comprehensive strategy to actively engage all students/parents in learning and give them something to look forward to in the future.

Additionally, Marietta City Schools must create a more inclusive environment. They must amend the system’s Anti-discriminatory policy to include sexual orientation. The MCS administrators must also take responsibility for ensuring that every student is encouraged and supported to graduate and create and implement an intervention as soon as a student begins to fall behind. This would be an excellent opportunity for the superintendent to demonstrate that there is justice for all in Marietta City Schools.

Parents at fault
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May 26, 2013
The parents are to blame if their child is not graduating. Period. It is not the school but what is taking pplace at home. I personally know of 4 kids from Hillgrove HS whom dropped out in the past 2 years and they were all white and all train wrecks. Their parents have never made education a priority and these kids have been poor students and lazy. Very sad! The county and state need to train parents.
justbeing real
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May 26, 2013
It is great news to hear but in many other places in the country graduation rate is 98 percent ( especially in the Northern States) where my family is from. We are all relocated down here. It has nothing to do w/race, or teaching it has everything to do with socio-economics. If parents are well educated, or even if they are not and believe that education is very important maybe this would not be an issue in the South.
Lib in Cobb
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May 26, 2013
In a recent study by The Dept. of Education, GA is ranked 48th in high school graduation rate, out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

With a little extra effort, I am certain GA could be at the very bottom instead of three from the bottom.
anonymous
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May 26, 2013
Congratulations and highest praise! Let's go make those numbers even better this/next year! Let's make Cobb and Marietta number 1 in Georgia in the next 5 years! Then make Cobb and Marietta number 1 in the nation in the next 10 years! We can do this!
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