Graduation rates improving in Baltimore County, City

BALTIMORE - Graduation rates are up and dropout rates are down in both Baltimore County and City public schools, according to data released from the Maryland Department of Graduation.

In Baltimore County, the four-year cohort graduation rate increased from 83.83 percent in 2012 to 86.3 percent, which is up almost 5 percentage points since 2010, according to a release from county officials.

In Baltimore City, the graduation rate increased from 66.5 percent to 68.5 in two years, according to a release from city officials, marking an 11.4 percent increase since 2010.

The county also reports 9.7 percent fewer students dropped out of high school compared to 11.04 percent of students in 2012, the county's release states. Since 2010, the dropout rate has dropped by 4.03 percent.

"Last year, we talked about accelerating the progress we have made in raising our graduation rate," BCPS Superintendent Dallas Dance said in the release. "To do that, we introduced credit recovery programs such as AdvancePath, supports for students in danger of dropping out, and online learning to keep students engaged and in school.

"The results we see today indicate that those measures are having a major impact, not only in keeping children in school and learning but also in making sure they graduate on time and ready for a career or continuing education," the release continues. "These results, which are striking for a large school system like BCPS, tell me we're heading in the right direction."

City officials meanwhile are happy to report staggering 49.2 drop in dropout rates in three years. Administrators reported 1,530 students of the class of 2010 dropped out compared to 727 students in the class of 2013. Data shows 23.8 percent of the class of 2010 dropped out, while 12.1 percent of students in the class of 2013 dropped out.

"The fact that our graduation and dropout rates continue to improve, and to do so at such a strong clip, is essential to maintaining the momentum of the district's reform work moving forward," Interim CEO Tisha Edwards said in a release. "And the narrowing of the gap with the state points, in an extremely meaningful way, to our students' potential.

"We are committed to continuing to grow the percentage of students who graduate high school," Edwards continued. "But now our work is really about making sure that by graduating, they are ready for whatever comes next, whether it's college, other post-secondary training or jobs. It's about giving more meaning to our diploma."

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