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News Release, Charles County Public Schools

La Plata, MD- Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) graduation rates rose 1.1 percent this year, with more than 94 percent of the class of 2019 graduating on time, according to Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) data.

CCPS’s four-year cohort graduation rates increased from 93.47 to 94.6 percent, and all seven high schools graduated students at a rate of 90 percent or more. The state graduation rate is 86.86 percent. CCPS has the fourth-highest graduation rate in Maryland.

The percentage of students dropping out of school decreased. The CCPS four-year cohort dropout rate decreased from 4.09 percent in 2018 to less than 3 percent in 2019. The state does not release percentages below three percent or greater than 95 percent to protect student privacy. The state’s dropout rate was 8.42 percent. Dropout rates provide a cumulative rate across the four years since the cohort first entered Grade 9. This rate includes dropouts as those students who did not graduate after four years but did not return for a fifth year.

 “High school graduation is among the most important achievements in education, coupled with students who graduate career and college ready. Our goal is for all students to finish with their class, and each year more and more Charles County students are staying in school until graduation,” Superintendent Kimberly Hill said.

All CCPS high schools posted graduation rates greater than 90 percent.

  • Henry E. Lackey High School: 94.82 percent
  • La Plata High School: greater than 95 percent
  • Maurice J. McDonough High School: 91.6 percent
  • North Point High School: greater than 95 percent
  • St. Charles High School: greater than 95 percent
  • Thomas Stone High School: 90.47 percent
  • Westlake High School: greater than 95 percent.

Student subgroups also experienced an increase in on-time graduation rates.

  • Asian: greater than 95 percent;
  • African American: 94.88 percent;
  • Hispanic/Latino: 81.76 percent;
  • White: greater than 95 percent;
  • Two or more races: 93.27 percent;
  • American Indian or Alaska Native: 91.67 percent.

Hill credits the increased rate to the persistence and hard work of CCPS teachers, staff and students. “Our teachers and administrators work hard every day to ensure students are achieving, both academically and personally. Our teachers adapt instruction to the learning needs of all students and strive to push them toward success and graduation,” Hill said.

The cohort graduation rate follows students from freshman year through their senior year. The state includes both the four-year cohort and five-year cohort rate in its accountability program. Data released last week is for the four-year cohort graduation rate for the class of 2019 and includes summer graduates. The calculation follows students from the time they first enter Grade 9 and includes those who graduate after four years.

Why graduation rates improved

Hill said the school system has embedded a number of programs and procedures to ensure students stay in school and succeed.

  • The school system offers a number of alternative education options including grade recovery, credit recovery, the Virtual Academy and evening high school.
  • Staff at the school system and school level closely monitor students, beginning as early as eighth grade. Monitoring includes tracking and developing action plans for students who are out of their cohort.
  • The new transcript identifies students still needing credits for graduation based on their graduation plan.
  • Central office staff reviews the transcripts for all seniors who did not meet graduation requirements and implements a plan for each student to complete graduation requirements.
  • Principals and senior counselors review each graduate’s transcript and confirm each graduate has met graduation requirements.
  • Student engagement and conduct officers start identifying students who might not graduate on time as early as in middle school. They also meet quarterly with students having difficulty with grades, attendance and behavior concerns to develop plans to get them back on track to graduate.

How CCPS audits graduation data

  • Starting with the 2017-18 school year, CCPS has worked with an independent contractor to audit graduation rates.
  • The central office staff reviews seniors’ transcripts at the beginning of school, mid-year and end-of-the-year.
  • All students are assigned a graduation plan. Graduation plans identify specific courses needed for graduation. Graduation plans are updated by schools and monitored by central office staff.
  • Any teacher requesting a grade change must complete a grade change form and provide a detailed explanation for requesting the grade change. The principal reviews the request and submits the grade change form to the central office. The Deputy Superintendent reviews all requests for grade changes. Approved grade changes are entered into the database by central office staff. Schools are not able to make grade changes in the database.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...