City, county hold high graduation rates

Published 12:49 pm Monday, October 1, 2018

The future leaders of Tennessee continue to make high marks according to the state’s Department of Education.

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced Monday morning that the 2017-18 high school graduation rate held steady at 89.1 percent, which continues to be the highest rate on record for the state. Across the board, more than 56 percent of districts with high schools saw their rates improve compared to last year.

“Our schools and districts should be proud that once again we have hit our state’s highest graduation rate on record while still holding our students to high expectations,” McQueen said in an email issued to the Elizabethton Star. “By continuing to raise the expectations, we are signaling that Tennessee students are leaving high school with the knowledge and skills to be successful in college and the workforce. This graduation rate is a testament to the work being done by teachers and students in schools across the state.”

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As a district, Carter County Schools saw their overall graduation rate improve from the 2016-17 school year. Monday’s announcement saw the county system at exactly 91 percent while the previous year’s rate was at 90.8.

Unaka High School had the highest rate of graduation for the county with a 91.5 percent rate. Hampton High School was at 91.2 while Happy Valley High School was exactly at the 91 percentage rate. Cloudland High School narrowly missed the 90-percent cutoff with a rate of 89.1.

Elizabethton High School continues to hold a 90-plus percentage rate for graduation. The graduation rate for 2017-18 did see a decline (94.4) compared to the previous year (99.5).

According to information provided by the department, Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration has set a high expectation for both students and educators, and “students have made significant gains as a result.”

A more rigorous calculation has been used for rates since 2011 and the state indicated they’ve seen a rise over the past seven years.

In the statement issued by the department, the state raised the bar for graduation expectations when the State Board of Education included participation in the ACT or SAT as a graduation requirement for Tennessee students. This year’s results are the first to reflect this change in accountability.

Carter County and Elizabethton school districts are part of the nearly 81 percent of districts in the state that have a graduation rate above 90 percent. Further information on the graduation rates can be viewed by visiting the department’s website.