October 25, 2020

Heard County sets new graduation rate record

(Franklin, GA) — Heard County High School’s graduation rate soared to an all-time high this week after the HHS Class of 2017 graduated at a rate of 93.5 percent, eclipsing the Class of 2015’s former record-holding mark of 90.9 percent.

Heard County was one of only 50 schools statewide to achieve a rate high than 90 percent according to information released by the State Department of Education.

HHS Principal Brent Tisdale says many people and strong initiative by the system have contributed to the much improved scores over the last several years.

“We are very proud of the work our teachers and leaders do to provide every opportunity to ensure students graduate. Our graduation rate is the culmination of the work that ALL our teachers have done from elementary to middle and then high school,” said Principal Tisdale in a statement Thursday morning.

“I appreciate the work our feeder schools do to prepare kids for success and can’t say enough about how important that is. At HCHS, we use an intentional and specific process that begins when kids enter 9th grade.”

Tisdale explains further about the process of building successful young students who go on to earn their diplomas.

“Our staff meets monthly to discuss each and every student in our school. We look at student data, school data, attendance, plan interventions (both remediation and acceleration) to address student needs, and partner with parents and mentors to help kids succeed,’ added Tisdale. “Our teachers care about kids and work tirelessly to help kids reach their potential. The old saying ‘it takes a village’ is true and we have an awesome village!”

Further signifying the hard work was the 94.3 percent graduation rate by economically disadvantaged students at Heard.

After Georgia’s 2015 high school graduation rate rose significantly, from ​72.5 percent in 2014 to 78.8 percent in 2015, the state overall again saw better numbers with a 2017 overall graduation rate of 80.6 percent. This represents the sixth straight increase in the state’s graduation rate and the first time it has landed above the 80 percent mark.

Georgia began calculating the graduation rate using the adjusted cohort rate in 2011, which is now required by the U.S. Department of Education.

“It’s wonderful to see Georgia’s graduation rate continue to rise – and rise above 80 percent this year – because we’re not just talking about data points,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said in a Georgia DOE press release this week.

“We’re talking about individual students who are moving on, ready and prepared, to their next phase of life. Georgia’s teachers, districts, and schools are personalizing education for each individual student, making sure those students are motivated and encouraged to stay in the classroom because they’re engaged in their learning, because they see how their education connects with their future goals,” added Woods.

“I’m thrilled to see 80.6 percent of our students graduating, but we can’t stay here at 80.6 – we need to ensure opportunity for every single student in the state of Georgia. I’m confident we’re on our way and will reach that goal.”

The four-year adjusted cohort graduation 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 ninth 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.

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