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Graduation rates show positive growth for Rowan-Salisbury high schools

SALISBURY — Graduation rates inched up slowly this year at the local and state levels.

According to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s 2016-17 Accountability Report, four-year high schools statewide had an 86.5 percent graduation rate, up from 85.9 percent in 2015-16.

While this year’s growth was only incremental, since 2006 — the first year the data was measured — the number has risen roughly 18 percentage points — from 68.3 percent of students graduating in four years to this year’s 86.5 percent.

According to the report, the four-year cohort graduation rate is calculated by the number of graduates divided by the number of students who entered ninth grade in 2013–14, plus any incoming students and minus any students who leave North Carolina in subsequent years.

Most Rowan-Salisbury high schools showed similar trends, with several schools making modest growth. Several schools managed to bring their graduation rates up by four or more points.

North Rowan High School jumped nearly 10 percentage points, from 79 percent in 2015-16 to 86 percent in 2016-17. East Rowan increased its graduation rate from 81 percent to 85 percent, and West Rowan, from 86 percent to 91 percent.

But three Rowan-Salisbury schools saw declines in their four-year graduation rates.

For Salisbury High, that drop was 10 percentage points, from 82 percent in 2015-16 to 72 percent in 2016-17. South Rowan High School also saw a significant decrease in students graduating within four years, falling from 87 percent to 83 percent. Carson High School fell from 90 percent to 88 percent.

The only local high schools to have an unchanged graduation rate are Rowan County Early College and Gray Stone Day School. Both schools maintained a graduation rate of greater than 95 percent.

According to a release from the Rowan-Salisbury Schools, the district’s overall graduation rate is 83 percent. The release also congratulated the Class of 2017 in the value of scholarships offered — a record-breaking $25.9 million. In 2013, students were offered only $7.8 million in scholarships.

“We know we are not where we want to be at every school, at every grade level, in every classroom,” Superintendent Lynn Moody said in a news release. “But we are extremely encouraged with the overall indications that we are heading in the right direction. We will continue to stay the course helping each other through the transformation. We are a community of schools, and I am grateful for all our partnerships on this journey.”’

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.

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