More students graduated from Metro Nashville Public Schools in 2012, according to state figures released today in the 2012 Report Card. The district’s graduation rate rose by 2.2 percentage points, up from 76.2 to 78.4 percent of students graduating in four years.
“Our goal is for every child who enrolls in our schools to earn a high school diploma,” said Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register. “We are working hard across all grade levels to help students realize that goal and I am pleased to see continual improvement in our graduation rate.
“Achievement scores are up and our value-added scores compare well to state averages. We saw some improvement in our letter grades and expect more in the future.”
The percentage does not include students who require more than four years and a summer to graduate. Many students, including some English Learners and students with disabilities, need more time to complete the graduation requirements.
“As a community, we claim every graduate as a success even if students need a little more time than the state’s calculation allows,” said Register.
Metro Schools has focused on programs that allow students to learn in more personalized schools designed to fit their interests and educational needs.
Increases in the graduation rate are the result of many factors, including the success of the Academies of Nashville in zoned schools, the addition of magnet schools and specialized schools such as MNPS Virtual High School, Nashville Big Picture, Middle College High, the Academies at Old Cockrill, Hickory Hollow and Opry Mills, and the district’s data review, school improvement and support programs. Metro Schools’ employees at the middle school and elementary school levels are working to identify and address early indicators that students are at risk for dropping out.
The 2012 Report Card includes district data on the event dropout rate. The report shows an increase to 8.8 percent from the 2.3 percent reported in 2011. The state is using a new calculation to determine this rate. The district has asked the state for a list of students to cross-check against district records to develop an apples-to-apples, year-to-year comparison.
“Erin O’Hara and the data quality team at the Tennessee Department of Education have been very helpful,” added Register.
The Report Card for Metro Schools includes achievement and accountability data originally released in July. The district showed growth in achievement among all subgroups of students last year, placing the district in intermediate status - the second highest accountability category.
Under this new accountability framework, the top-performing districts are “Exemplary” while the bottom performing districts are in two “In Need of Improvement” categories; the remaining districts are in an intermediate category. Tennessee’s new accountability system replaces No Child Left Behind’s Annual Yearly Progress measures. Rather than expecting all districts to meet the same benchmarks year after year, the new system acknowledges that districts are starting from different places and rewards those that show the most growth. Under the new system, approximately 43% of districts were categorized as “In Need of Improvement” or “In Need of Subgroup Improvement.”
“These results show thousands more Metro Nashville students are performing at higher levels,” Register said. “Tennessee standards are among the highest in the country and this new accountability system is real and is holding districts to standards that are difficult, but attainable.
“The growth we have seen this year is the result of hard work, changes to instructional practice, professional development for principals and teachers, and meeting our students’ diverse needs. We want to accelerate that growth at all levels and close achievement gaps.”
Board Member &
Sports Fan Mark North
MNPS: The First Choice for the Finest Student-Athletes
There are a lot of reasons why students may not follow the traditional path to graduation. For Dylan Wright those reasons are deeply personal and tragic.
When Dylan was a sophomore in high school, his brother was murdered. The two of them were extremely close, even starting a lawn care business together. After his brother’s death, Dylan had trouble at his Williamson County high school. He couldn’t focus and would suffer from emotional breakdowns in the middle of the day. Sometimes he would just skip school entirely, putting him far behind in his classes. After three months out of school, Dylan decided to give it another try – but not in the usual fashion.
Dylan enrolled at The Academy at Hickory Hollow, which he heard about from a friend. At The Academy he was given the individual attention he needed to keep focused in class. He says he was treated like an adult, not “a little kid.” It was actually a lot like a college environment, where the faculty never gave up on him and pushed him to success.
Now Dylan is graduating, applying to college, and is even a featured speaker at The Academy’s graduation this morning.
Congratulations, Dylan. We’re so happy you found your place and your path to success at The Academy.
Big congratulations and a round of applause are in order for MNPS Middle College High School seniors who will not only graduate from high school this evening, but have also earned Associate Degrees or General Education Core Certificates (earned 41 or more college credit hours) from Nashville State Community College.
Each of these students participated in the Nashville State Community College graduation ceremony on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.
Chris Cotter decided early in life he wouldn’t be another statistic. He would not be “average” or accepting of the bare minimum. He would expect a lot out of himself – only the best – even if he didn’t expect much help from others.
He moved around a lot, often changing schools in the middle of the year. Until high school, he had never stayed at one school for longer than one year, giving him precious little growing time in his classes and with friends. After suddenly losing their rented home to an unexpected sale, Chris’ family found themselves without many options. Through all of this misfortune and despite hard times, his mother stayed strong and provided for her sons. Chris was able to stay with another family, but it would not be the only time he found himself without a home. He realized then he couldn’t depend on others to help him succeed. He’d have to do it himself.
One day while searching on the Internet, Chris found an article claiming young men in his situation would never lead successful lives, never rise above the statistics for “average black men.” He would not accept that.
Through hard work, Chris earned a 3.5 grade point average and is graduating with honors this weekend from Hunters Lane High School. He never accepted Bs and only worked toward As – even in honors and AP classes.
He has been accepted to Berea College in Kentucky, where he’ll study to become a math teacher. The school has offered him full scholarships for all four years, totaling $100,000.
The young man who always has a smile, but hasn’t always had good fortune, has found his path in life. And he will soon be making a difference in the lives of young students very much like himself.
Congratulations, Chris. We couldn’t be more proud of you.
We have just learned End of Course (EOC) exam scores will not be available as soon as expected. This makes it impossible for us to calculate final grades and to award diplomas to any student who took an EOC this spring.
Students who completed their EOC exams before this spring will not be affected by this delay.
We have all been looking forward to the excitement of graduation and we will do everything we can to allow students and families to enjoy the celebration, despite this delay.
CLICK HERE for a full graduation schedule.
In just a few days, the sounds of Pomp and Circumstance will be heard throughout Davidson County as more than 4,000 Metro seniors receive their high school diplomas. Thousands more families, friends, neighbors, and guests of Metro Schools will join in the celebration of that accomplishment at graduation ceremonies.
We want everyone to enjoy graduation, which is why we’ve developed a Graduation Etiquette Pledge (GEP) made up of four easy steps to an honorable, dignified, and civil ceremony.
Guests of graduation pledge to:
CLICK HERE for a full schedule of all graduation ceremonies!
Freshman at Overton High School pledged their commitment to graduate this spring. In a special C2G (Commitment to Graduate) ceremony, the students signed a huge banner promising they will stay in school and help their peers stay in school. Throughout the year, the Class of 2015 have devoted time to writing down goals that will help them stay on track and identifying at least three people who can help support them on their journey.
A new report released by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center shows that Tennessee must be doing something right in terms of helping students graduate from high school.