Superintendent Joshua Starr is in for an early Christmas present: graduation rates in Montgomery County have not only sustained last year’s substantial precedent, but have experienced a pleasantly unexpected increase. The news comes just days after public notice of a 1.5 percent rise in Maryland’s overall graduation rate, as well as a 0.6 percent increase in MCPS’. The occasion was heralded by students and teachers alike.
In a statement to the press, Dr. Starr attributed the school system’s success to the toil and perseverance of teachers devoting time and energy to unlock every student’s potential. “I’m very pleased that we continue to see steady growth in our graduation rate,” he stated. “Our staff is doing an outstanding job preparing our students to graduate on time and be ready for college and the workplace.”
According to a recent article in the Washington Post, 16 out of 25 MCPS high schools witnessed an increase in two-year graduation rates. Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg took first place for the largest two-year upswing, boasting a 6.5 percentage point increase that propelled its 2010 graduation rate from 78.8 percent to 85.3 percent. Other notable increases occurred at Northwood High School, Rockville High School, and Montgomery Blair High School.
A large part of MCPS’ increase in graduation rates can also be attributed to schools such as Walter Johnson High School, which amassed the largest one-year increase from 2011 to 2012. Rates rose a remarkable five percent from 2011 to 2012, instituting a lofty 96.7 percent overall graduation rate. Walter Johnson is now ranked fourth in terms of overall four-year graduation rates in Montgomery County, ahead of Whitman (95.1 percent), and just behind Wootton (98.7 percent), Poolesville (97.8 percent), and Churchill (97.2 percent).
The graduation rates of more specific student subgroups is increasing in addition to overall school graduation rates. An auspicious symbol of a shrinking achievement gap between students to come, the four-year graduation rates of all major student races increased from 2010 to 2012.
Article by Mahya Bigdeli, MoCo Student staff writer