Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) graduation rates rose slightly this year, with more than 93% of the Class of 2021 graduating on time. Graduation rate data was released last week by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). The 93.58% graduation rate for the Class of 2021 is more than 5% higher than the statewide average.
CCPS four-year cohort graduation rates rose from 93.53% in 2020 to 93.58% in 2021, and all seven high schools graduated students at a rate of at least 89% or more. Graduation rates for the Class of 2021 by high school are as follows.
- Henry E. Lackey High School: 92.31%.
- La Plata High School: 93.81%.
- Maurice J. McDonough High School: 92.4%.
- North Point High School: 98.44%.
- St. Charles High School: 93.04%.
- Thomas Stone High School: 89.69%.
- Westlake High School: 92.92%.
The percentage of CCPS students dropping out of school slightly decreased from last year and is lower than the statewide average. The CCPS four-year cohort dropout rate decreased from 4.31% in 2020 to 4.21% in 2021 and is more than 3% lower than the statewide average of 7.36% for 2021.
Specific student subgroups experienced an increase in graduation rates. The graduation rate for Black or African American students increased from 93.47% in 2020 to 93.97% in 2021. Additionally, the graduation rate for students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals (FARMS) increased to 92.98% in 2021, up from 89.09% in 2020.
“While graduation rates for students in Charles County increased slightly for 2021, there is still work to be done. This includes ensuring all graduating students have access to college and career preparation programs and leave Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) prepared for higher education, specialized trade centers, and programs, or the workforce. CCPS is working to expand career and technical education program certifications as well as offering the Early College Program for rising seniors. CCPS will continue to support students with individualized graduation plans that outline their specific needs with the goal of graduating. I am proud of the work of our students, teachers, and administrators who are committed to seeing more students graduate on time with their peers,” Superintendent of Schools Maria Navarro, Ed.D., said.
How MSDE and CCPS monitor graduation rates by graduating classes
The cohort graduation rate follows a student from their freshman year through their senior year. Data released last week by MSDE is the four-year cohort graduation rate for the Class of 2021 and includes summer graduates. Calculations follow students from the time they first enter Grade 9 and include those who graduate after four years. The graduation rate is calculated by using the number of students who graduate in four years with a high school diploma divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for that graduating class.
How CCPS supports students toward graduation
Starting this school year, CCPS implemented a tracking system in the student information system, Synergy, for all high school freshmen. At the end of the first semester, data reports were uploaded to StudentVue and ParentVue that indicate a student’s progress toward graduation. Once final grades are calculated at the end of the school year, an updated report will be posted to StudentVue and ParentVue. CCPS will provide these graduation reports for all high school freshmen twice per school year. The tracking system is part of a new requirement under the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future legislation.
CCPS also offers alternative learning options for high school students to meet graduation requirements, such as grade and recovery programs, and the Virtual Academy. Staff closely monitor student progress toward graduation requirements and implement action plans for students when needed.
High school principals, as well as class counselors, also monitor student transcripts and implement individualized plans for seniors who have not met graduation requirements. Student transcripts are also evaluated to confirm that graduates have completed all graduation requirements. CCPS began using a new transcript format in 2020 that outlines credits needed for a student to graduate based on their graduation plan.
Additionally, instructional and student services staff at the CCPS administrative offices monitor students who may not be on track to graduate on time due to difficulty with grades, attendance, and/or behavior concerns to ensure a plan is in place for the student to complete all graduation requirements.
Graduation rate data for each Charles County public high school is posted on the Maryland Report Card website at https://reportcard.msde.maryland.gov/. To view data by school, enter the name of the school in the search box. Users can also select Charles County from the View District Data option.