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CPS: Highest Graduation Rate On Record for 5-year Grads


In non-strike news, a breath of fresh air out of CPS headquarters where they recently announced that they are predicting the highest 5-year graduation rate the district has seen since 1999 at 60.6%.  This is fantastic news and a step in the right direction. 

While no one would say a 60% graduation rate is perfect, it is something to build on and gives everyone an opportunity to look at what's working and replicate it.  Below is the Huffington Post story

What do you think would continue to help graduation rates climb?


CPS: Highest Graduation Rate On Record For Five-Year Grads in 2012, District Predicts

Huffington Post: Posted: 06/11/2012 5:57 pm Updated: 06/11/2012 5:57 pm

At a time when Chicago Public Schools are in the spotlight as teachers have authorized a strike, the district released a projected graduation rate that could be record-breaking.

With more than 18,500 students graduating from CPS this year, the district predicts its graduation rate will hit 60.6 percent this year for students who were freshmen in the 2007-2008 school year, the highest it's been since at least 1999, according to WBEZ. That percentage includes predictions about seniors enrolled in summer school or fifth year programs to fulfill their graduation requirements.

The statistic says nothing about the current administration, in place for only a year, but CPS spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler told Catalyst Chicago that the news can provide "great momentum going into next year."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel seemed energized by the news, which he mentioned during his keynote speech at a CPS graduation last weekend.

"A higher percentage of CPS students will also enroll in college next year than any year on record," Emanuel told the senior class of Golder College Prep during their graduation ceremony this weekend, according to ABC Chicago.

But the Chicago Sun-Times reports that these stats may be misleading: the state requires school districts to calculate four-year graduation rates, which are sent home to parents, but CPS has been leaning on five year calculations for the past 14 years, according to the newspaper. What the 60 percent figure does represent is growth: it's up 2.3 percent from 2011, the third-largest uptick ever in the five-year measure, just behind the 2.5 percent hike the year before, and the 2.4 percent gain in 2006.

CPS Chief Jean-Claude Brizard attributed the improved rate in this year's class to graduation rate initiatives that targeted several schools, like Phoenix Military Academy, where teachers and principals collaborated to raise their graduation rate from 42 percent in 2008 to nearly 75 percent last year, the Associated Press reports. Brizard called the numbers "impressive," but said much more work needs to be done to bring all Chicago students to the same high-performing levels.



It's important to look at all factors. For some reason, the Phoenix Military Academy rapidly went from 80% black in 2003, to 32% black in 2011. It was 19% Hispanic in 2003, to 64% Hispanic in 2011. Obviously there was a major shift in who was enrolled. Showcase schools always do well, particularly if the school can cherry pick students. If it were that easy to increase graduation, the same methods would be also used in all the other high schools.