- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has set a new high for high school graduation in 2014, topping the mark it reached last year.

The Charlotte Observer reports (https://bit.ly/1A6szLg) the district’s rate reached 85.2 percent, the fifth straight year of increases. In 2013, the rate was 81 percent.

North Carolina’s second largest school system has now increased its graduation rate by more than 15 percentage points over the last five years. More than half of the district’s high schools now have a graduation rate above 90 percent.

CMS chief accountability officer Frank Barnes said the increase can be attributed to a greater emphasis on working with individual students within schools.

Counselors spend time reviewing each student’s transcript to make sure they’re on track to graduate. Administrators reach out to struggling students who need support, and students are given more opportunities to make up credits if they’ve had a setback.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg system measures its graduation rate based on a four-year cohort, meaning only students who enter as freshmen and graduate on time in four years are counted as graduating. A student who graduated in five years would not be counted in the rate. The 2014 rate is the highest since the district began measuring its graduation rate this way.

The class of 2013 was the first to benefit from reduced graduation requirements. Only 24 credits were required for that graduating class, compared with 28 in previous years. The state requires 22.

In addition, the disparity in graduation rates between white and black students tightened, but still persists. The graduation rate for white students hit 93 percent in 2014, compared with 82.5 percent for black students. That compares with the 91.1 percent and 76.6 percent spread last year.


Information from: The Charlotte Observer, https://www.charlotteobserver.com

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