June 16, 2024
Annapolis, US 65 F

Anne Arundel County’s Graduation Rates Eclipse Statewide Levels

Six Anne Arundel County Public Schools high schools had four-year graduation rates of at least 95 percent and five more had rates of higher than 90 percent for students in the Class of 2023, data released today by the Maryland State Department of Education shows. The 11 schools with rates of 90 percent or higher represent a greater total than in each of the five previous years.

The percentage of non-alternative schools to achieve that threshold – 73.3 percent – is also the highest among the state’s five largest jurisdictions and approximately 15 percentage points above the state average. Glen Burnie High School saw the biggest gain with an increase of approximately 3.5 percentage points, with Northeast High School’s rate rising by nearly 3.1 percentage points.

There were significant increases among student groups as well. The graduation rate for homeless students rose by more than 6.6 percentage points, the rate for English Learners increased by 3.7 percentage points, and the rate for Economically Disadvantaged students went up by 3.25 percentage points.

The county’s overall four-year cohort graduation rate – a measure of the percentage of students who graduated four years after entering high school – was 87.68 percent for the Class of 2023. That is nearly two full percentage points above the state average.

“I take a lot of pride in making sure kids graduate from this school district on time and are college and career ready,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark Bedell said. “While I am pleased that nearly 75 percent of our schools have a graduation rate above 90 percent, we will not settle until all of our schools reach a 100 percent graduation rate. We have some bright spots in our data but for many reasons, we also expected the slight dip we saw in the overall graduation rate.”

Chief among those reasons, Dr. Bedell said, is the roller-coaster educational journey members of the Class of 2023 took to get to their graduation day.

“These students only had about 70 percent of their freshman year before COVID shut everything down,” Dr. Bedell said. “Then they spent an entire school year online before coming back in person for a still-abnormal junior year. Only their senior year was even close to traditional, and we experienced a significantly detrimental rate of chronic absenteeism and transportation difficulties a year ago.”

Dr. Bedell pointed to parts of his reorganization plan and new strategic initiatives already under way as avenues of increased support for students that should result in better outcomes quickly. Last summer, the school system launched Project Graduation, which provides open-ended, student-centered, credit recovery options such as digital learning centers and build more opportunities for second-chance learning. The initiative, begun in response to the Class of 2022 graduation data,  focuses on individual needs of students in grades 9 through 12 by bringing together central office leadership, high school leadership teams, counselors, and teachers to proactively assess student progress toward on-time graduation and to provide real-time interventions and supports as necessary. Particular attention is being focused towards those schools with the lowest graduation rates.

“Our data showed a decrease was likely, especially with the increased number of students who left our system or experienced unexpected mobility during and after COVID,” Dr. Bedell said. “What we’re doing now will bear fruit with respect to future classes. This is about responding to our data. This is methodical and well thought out.”

Additionally, as part of Dr. Bedell’s two-phase reorganization plan, the school system will move from a vertical supervision structure for schools determined solely by clusters to a leveled network system under which middle and high school principals will meet and engage in professional development and joint problem-solving. That will allow more principals to engage in similar work together than is now the case.

More information on AACPS four-year graduation rates can be found here.

Statewide information can be found online here.

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