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Four-year graduation rate declines for second year in a row

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The Alamance-Burlington school system’s four-year graduation rate declined for a second consecutive year by six-tenths of a percentage point, from 85.9 percent in 2021-22 to 85.3 percent for the 2022-23 school year that ended June 9, based on the latest graduation rates released Wednesday by the state Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

The four-year graduation rate for ABSS had reached an historic high of 87.3 percent for the 2020-21 school year, topping the statewide graduation rate for the first time in recent memory, based on the state’s annual graduation report for that school year.

Four-year graduation rates for four ABSS high schools – the Alamance-Burlington Early College, Alamance Virtual School, and Eastern and Southern high schools – surpassed the statewide average four-year graduation rate of 86.2 percent for 2022-23, based on the data released Wednesday (see accompanying chart).

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However, the system-wide graduation rate (85.3 percent) for ABSS trailed the statewide rate (86.4 percent) by 1.1 percentage point in 2022-23. The statewide average four-year graduation rate rose by two-tenths of a percentage point, from 86.2 percent in 2021-22 to 86.4 percent in 2022-23.

The latest four-year graduation rate for ABSS represents students who entered the ninth grade in 2019-20 – a school year that effectively ended in mid-March 2020, with a statewide school shutdown at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic – and graduated within the traditional four-year timeframe.

With more than 95 percent of seniors graduating on-time in 2022-23, the graduation rate for the ABSS Early College campus exceeded the four-year graduation rate for the school system as a whole (85.3 percent), as well as the statewide rate of 86.4 percent, for an eighth consecutive year, according to DPI.

The four-year graduation rate for the Early College, which is housed on Alamance Community College’s Graham campus, has remained unchanged at greater than 95 percent for nearly a decade, according to state annual graduation reports.

 

Four-year graduation rate increases at three high schools

On-time graduation rates increased at three ABSS high schools (Southern, Western, and Williams) but also declined at three of the six traditional high schools (Eastern, Graham, and Cummings).  The four-year graduation rate for the Alamance Virtual School, which is based at the Sellars-Gunn Education Center in Burlington and opened in 2021-22, also declined.

In addition to the early college, the four-year graduation rates at Eastern and Southern exceeded the statewide graduation and system-wide rates in 2022-23, the state’s latest report reveals.

[Story continues below graduation chart.]

 

At 92.9 percent, the four-year graduation rate at Southern High School was 6.5 percentage points higher than the statewide average graduation rate and 7.6 percentage points higher than the system-wide rate for ABSS in 2022-23.  That represented an increase of 0.5 percentage points from the previous school year, when the four-year graduation rate for Southern High School was 92.4 percent.

With a four-year graduation rate of 87.6 percent, Western High School experienced an increase of 3.3 percentage points, from 84.3 percent in 2021-22, which outpaced the system-wide rate by 2.3 percentage points and the statewide rate by 1.2 percentage points.

Williams High School saw its four-year graduation rate increase by 3.2 percentage points, from 83.9 percent in 2021-22 to 87.6 percent in 2022-23, which was 1.8 percentage points higher than the system-wide average (85.3 percent) and 0.7 percentage points higher than the statewide average of 86.4 percent.

 

On-time graduation rate declines at three ABSS high schools

Eastern High School’s graduation rate of 89.3 percent – a decline of 1.1 percentage points from last year’s rate – was a full 4 percentage points higher than the system-wide rate and 2.9 percentage points higher than the statewide graduation rate in 2022-23.

Graham and Cummings high schools experienced the largest declines in their four-year graduation rates in 2021-22.

The graduation rate at Graham High School declined 5.6 percentage points, from 82.4 percent in 2021-22 to a rate of 76.8 percent in 2022-23.

The on-time graduation rate at Cummings High School fell 2.7 percentage points, from 74.6 percent in 2021-22 to 71.9 percent in 2022-23, according to DPI’s report.

The rate for Alamance Virtual School declined by 4 percentage points from 91.1 percent in 2021-22 to 87.2 percent for the 34 students who graduated on time in 2022-23, according to DPI’s report.

 

On-time graduation rate for ABSS comes in 10th among 15 other Piedmont-Triad school systems

Among the 16 schools that make up the state’s Piedmont-Triad educational region, ABSS took tenth place (see accompanying chart).

Among the 16 school systems in the Piedmont-Triad region, 10 increased their graduation rates in 2022-23, while five school systems, including ABSS, saw their four-year graduation rates decline.  The graduation rate at one, Mount Airy City, 89.5 percent remained unchanged from that for the previous school year.

Elkin City schools took the top spot, with a four-year graduation rate of 92.7 percent that outpaced the ABSS four-year graduation rate (85.3 percent) by 7.4 percentage points; Elkin also topped the statewide average rate (86.4 percent) by 6.3 percentage points (see accompanying chart).

Rounding out the bottom of the Piedmont-Triad region was the Thomasville City school system, which had a four-year graduation rate of 75.7 percent – marking the largest decline, 8.5 percentage points, from the previous year for any of the 16 Piedmont-Triad school systems.  Thomasville’s four-year graduation rate for 2022-23 trailed the statewide rate by 10.7 percentage points and the ABSS rate by 9.6 percentage points.

 

Graduation rates at two charter schools top statewide and ABSS rates

Meanwhile, two of the county’s three charter schools that go up to 12th grade posted four-year graduation rates that were higher than those for ABSS and the state in 2021-22, according to DPI’s latest report (see accompanying chart).   No graduation rate is reported for the county’s fourth charter school, Alamance Community School, which opened off Jimmie Kerr Road in August 2020 and currently serves elementary and middle school grades.

The four-year graduation rate for River Mill Academy in Graham and Clover Garden School remained unchanged from the previous school year, with both topping 95 percent in 2022-23.

[Story continues below charter school graduation rates compared with state averages, ABSS.]

The graduation rates for Clover Garden and River Mill, both with rates greater than 95 percent, surpassed the ABSS four-year graduation rate by 9.7 percentage points and the statewide average four-year graduation rate (86.4 percent) by 8.6 percentage points.

However, the four-year graduation rate for the Hawbridge School, 83.8 percent, declined by 6.2 percentage points from the previous year’s rate of 90 percent.  And the graduation rate at Hawbridge in 2022-23 trailed the statewide average by 2.6 percentage points and the ABSS rate by 1.5 percentage points, based on the data released by DPI Wednesday morning.

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