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Charter High School Graduation Rates Above Average

Dorothy Rowley | 11/9/2012, 10:19 a.m.

As of June 2012, District public charter high school students garnered a 76.7 percent graduation rate, which far exceeded the state's target of 63 percent in accordance with the federally-approved Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility Waiver.

"Many of our charter high schools have much to be proud of, and we congratulate those with strong graduation rates," said Brian W. Jones, PCSB Board chair. "Among the noteworthy results this year -- more than half of the 888 students who graduated from public charter schools in four years reside in wards 7 and 8 -- in neighborhoods with some of the highest rates of poverty in the city."

Whilethe ultimate goal of the District i to achieve an 85 percent graduation rateeeby 2017, Scott Pearson, Public Charter School Board executive director, noted that the overall charter school graduation rate was down from last year's rate of 79.8 percent.

"The documentation procedures in the collection of graduates and dropouts were more stringent this year compared to last," Pearson said. "While we welcome the increased rigor, we also recognize that it had some effect on school graduation percentages."

Pearson also said that many charter students who did not graduate with their class after four years are still working towards their diplomas.

"We are working with the State Superintendent to calculate and release five-year graduation rates. It is important to recognize students who persist in their goal of earning a diploma, even if it takes more than four years," he said.

Source: District of Columbia Public Charter School Board

The new preferred measure which was first introduced last year measures a cohort of students: identifying what percentage graduate high school within four years.

This year, District charters graduated 77 percent of their students within four years, compared to 56 percent for District of Columbia Public Schools, according to information submitted to The Washington Informer by the charters' communications officer.

Dan Cronin noted that among schools with the highest graduation rates, is Friendship Public Charter School's Collegiate Academy, which boasts a 91 percent rate for 2012. That rate - which compares to city schools like the School Without Walls, and McKinley Technology High School and Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School -- is up five points from 86 percent last school year.

"While it [Collegiate Academy] is the second highest charter high school in the graduation rate rankings issued recently by Office of the State Superintendent of Education, the first, Washington Latin, serves far fewer economically disadvantaged students," Cronin wrote in an email. "Seventy-four percent of Collegiate Academy's students are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch. And, 100 percent of their graduating class is accepted to college."

Source: District of Columbia Public Charter School Board