State graduation rate continues to climb, local administrators weigh in

Published 9:11 am Saturday, September 26, 2020

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North Carolina’s four-year cohort high school graduation rate increased to 87.6% with the class of 2020, up from 86.5% for the 2019 graduating class.

In northeastern North Carolina, four school systems turned in graduations rates higher than the state rate.

Overall district graduation rates are Currituck County 94.6%; Dare County 94.9%; Hyde County 90.9% and Tyrrell County 92.3%.

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In 2006, North Carolina first reported a cohort graduation rate at 68.3%. In the 14 years, the statewide rate has increased 19.3%.

Statewide, the four-year graduation rate for students from low-income families reached 82.2%, while the rate for black students has increased to 85.2%. As a result of those gains, persistent gaps evident in 2006 have narrowed significantly, states the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The gap between white and black students, for example, has closed by more than half, from 13.1 points in 2006 to 5.5 points in 2020; a similar trend is seen between students from low-income families and the state as a whole, closing from 12.7 points in 2006 to 5.4 points in 2020.

Below are the graduation rates for 2020 and 2019 for high schools in Currituck, Dare, Hyde and Tyrrell counties. The figures come from the North Carolina Department of Education.

Currituck County

“Currituck County Schools is proud of both Currituck County High School and JP Knapp Early College and the efforts of their respective faculty and staff to ensure students graduate on time,” states Renee Dowdy, assistant superintendent for secondary education for Currituck County Schools.

“We know that students who receive high quality mentorship and guidance from teachers, counselors, coaches, and administrators are more likely to remain engaged and graduate high school. We hope to see the graduation rates for both schools continue to trend upward as we work to personalize pathways to graduation for each and every student.”

Overall Graduation Rate: 94.6%

Currituck County High School

Grade Span: 9-12

Class of 2020: 258 students

2020 Graduation Rate: 93.4%

Class of 2019: 275 students

2019 Graduation Rate: 83.6%

J.P. Knapp Early College High School

Grade Span: 9-13

Class of 2020: 59 students

2020 Graduation Rate: More than 95%

Class of 2019: 70 students

2019 Graduation Rate: More than 95%

Dare County

Dare County Superintendent John Farrelly told the county’s school board about increase in graduation rates at the board’s meeting Sept. 8. He later wrote in a Blackboard post that “the Dare County School’s graduation rate rose this past year to 94.9%! Initial data ranks DCS as the sixth highest district in the state of North Carolina. Every high school increased its graduation rate.”

Overall Graduation Rate: 94.9%

Cape Hatteras Secondary School

Grade Span: 6-12

Class of 2020: 41 students

Graduation Rate: 95.1%

Class of 2019: 51 students

2019 Graduation Rate: 86.3%

First Flight High School

Grade Span: 9-12

Class of 2020: 199 students

Graduation rate: 94.5%

Class of 2019: 195 students

2019 Graduation rate: 94.4%

Manteo High School

Grade Span: 9-12

Class of 2020: 199 students

2020 Graduation Rate: 98.3%

Class of 2019: 134 students

2019 Graduation Rate: 93.3%

Dare Learning Academy

Grade Span: 9-12

Class of 2020:

Dare County Schools reports that 12 students graduated from Dare Learning Academy, nine were seniors and three were juniors. The state’s Department of Public Instruction website gives the figure as 60, which represents a three year total of students for the class.

2020 Graduation Rate:

Dare County uses one year of data to calculate the graduation rate. For the learning academy, 16 students were in the four-year cohort and 12 graduated for a 75% graduation rate, the one presented by Farrelly. The Department of Public Instruction manual for calculating the graduation rate states: “Small Schools Calculation Rule 4-ACGR S1.0—Schools with an average enrollment over a four-year period of less than 100 students are given a cohort rate calculated using three years of data for the purposes of school accountability, long-term goals, and identification of Comprehensive Support and Improvement–Low Graduation Rate.” For 2020, the department graduation rate was 56.7%.

Class of 2019: The state figure is 61 students, a three year total of students. Dare County’s numbers report 21 students in the four-year cohort with 10 graduating.

2019 Graduation Rate: Using the one year figure, Dare County reports 47.6% as the rate. Using three years of data, the state presents 62.3% as the graduation rate.

Hyde County

In Hyde County, the graduation rate at Mattamuskeet Early College High School jumped dramatically.

Hyde County Schools Superintendent Steve Basnight commented, “We are thrilled to see our Mattamuskeet Early College graduation rate back above 91% for the first time since the 2016-2017 School Year. We do not want our graduation rate to simply reflect how many graduates walk across a stage and receive a diploma.

“All of our Hyde County Schools staff members are working diligently every day to personalize each student’s education, which is exactly what it takes, to keep our students knowledgeable about where they stand, engaged in the process, and contributing to their own education.

“Our goal is to not only improve our graduation rate numerically by reducing the number of dropouts, but to also provide our graduates with a strong educational foundation to enter the workforce, military, or if they so choose, to have the tools to successfully pursue a post-secondary education.

“One of the blessings and challenges of having a school the size of Ocracoke School is that one individual student can change the overall numbers dramatically. Before Hurricane Dorian, Ocracoke School would have graduated 13 seniors last year for an 87% graduation rate. After the storm, five of our seniors transferred off the island to complete their high school careers (which we are thrilled they all successfully accomplished) reducing the total number of graduates significantly. As their final numbers were under 10 students, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction does not report those numbers. Based on our initial data, we anticipate the Ocracoke School graduation rate to also jump significantly by the end of this current school year.”

Overall Graduation Rate: 90.9%

Mattamuskeet Early College High School

Grade Span: 6-13

Class of 2020: 35 students

2020 Graduation Rate: 91.4%

Class of 2019: 23 students

2019 Graduation Rate: 65.2%

Ocracoke School

Grade Span: PK-13

Class of 2020: Eight students at graduation

2020 Graduation Rate: Not reported for classes under 10 students.

Class of 2019: 16 students

2019 Graduation Rate: 93.8%

Tyrrell County

Tyrrell County Schools Superintendent Oliver Holley pointed out that Columbia High School is an early college high school. Students at Columbia take courses online with Beaufort Community College in a virtual learning lab: “We want to make sure our size doesn’t limit our students.” Holley praised Columbia’s principal, saying “Bill Zigler has been working very, very hard.”

Overall Graduation Rate: 92.3%

Columbia Early College High School

Grade Span: 9-13

Class of 2020: 39 students

2020 Graduation Rate: 92.3%

Class of 2019: 42 students

2019 Graduation Rate: More than 95%

“The cohort graduation rate is defined as the percentage of students in the adjusted cohort who graduate within four years with a regular high school diploma. To generate the 2019-20 cohort, first-time 9th graders were identified in 2016-17. The cohort was then adjusted by adding any students who transferred into the cohort after 9th grade and subtracting any students who transferred out, migrated to another county, transferred to a prison or juvenile facility, or are deceased.” – North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.



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