National Graduation Rate Rises to 83.2 Percent, Yet New York City’s Department of Education Staggers at 68 Percent
Earlier this month, GradNation released a special report, 2017 Building a Grad Nation Report: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates. The national graduation rate of our U.S. students is at an all-time high of 83.2 percent.
Despite such gains, the question still remains, what about the large percentage of students who do not graduate? Nationally, 17 percent, and in New York City, 38 percent of students, did not graduate from high school in the 2014-2015 school year.
A deep dive into the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) data from 2014-2015
During the 2014-2015 school year, 995,192 students were enrolled in NYC DOE schools. Three percent of students were identified as chronically absent. This means that 29,855 students missed 10% or more of school days throughout the year.
Furthermore, 29 percent of NYC DOE students lived in poverty. Poverty and high school drop out rates are inextricably connected. The future of one third of our students are thus at-risk.
It comes as no surprise then that during the 2014-2015 school year only 68 percent of students in the NYC DOE graduated. Comparably, New York State’s gradation rate hovered at 79.2 percent, also falling below our national average. The U.S. Department of Education’s Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) determined such graduation rates. The release of this data marks five years since states began reporting data with a common formula.
Where do we go from here?
For our home state to reach our 2020 goal, 90 percent high school graduation, 22,878 more students must graduate each year. How do we achieve this goal?
To drop out of school is not a decision that students make overnight. It is a gradual process that research suggests can begin as early as the first grade. There are also a variety of factors that cause our students to drop out. What we do know, however, is that mentorship and early identification of absence patterns reverse these trends for our most vulnerable students.
Success Mentors: Attendance Works, a National non-profit dedicated to attendance improvement, profiles the AmeriCorps Success Mentor Program, which was launched in 2010. Success Mentors are assigned a case load of to schools’ most chronically absent students. They meet with students and their families one-on-one and in groups to inform them of attendance patterns, absence risks, and identify interventions that can prevent deeper chronic absence. Previously chronically absent high school students with Success Mentors were 52 percent more likely to remain in school the following year than equivalent comparison students who did not receive mentors, discusses Attendance Works. For schools that do not have access to AmeriCorps, they can call upon school faculty, from the custodian to the principal, to serve as Mentors.
Three Tiers of Intervention
To mentor and to identify our most vulnerable students go hand-in-hand. The three-tiered reform system, designed by Attendance Works, supports schools in aligning students with support services based on attendance rates. Tier One encompasses students missing 5 to 9 percent of school days, Tier Two includes students missing 10 to 19 percent of school days, and Tier Three rounds out a school’s student population with students missing 20 percent or more days of school.
GradNation’s goal to raise high school graduation rates to 90 percent by the Class of 2020 is a lofty goal, yet perhaps attainable for the first time in decades. Thanks to more intensive, common data standards and practices across states, the rise of evidence-based attendance improvement models like Success Mentors, and Tiered Intervention Plans, we are seeing gains in graduation rates.
Please visit www.kinvolved.com to learn more about how we can support you to easily identify your most at-risk students, and ensure that families are in the loop through simple, effective text messaging.