Education

More News | |

Richmond County schools see drop in graduation rate

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 6:06 PM
Last updated Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 12:48 AM
  • Follow Education

Richmond County’s 2013 graduation rate fell 1 percentage point from last year to 58 percent, well below the state average, but Superintendent Frank Roberson said that does not necessarily mean the district is losing ground toward its goals.

Back | Next
ShaRon Dukes, a graduation coach at Cross Creek High School, talks to students about applying to college.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
ShaRon Dukes, a graduation coach at Cross Creek High School, talks to students about applying to college.

Roberson said that when a school system, such as Richmond County, is in need of drastic improvements, educators must look for incremental changes over time. The results are still a gain over the district’s 55 percent graduation rate from 2011. He said the drop is “not statistically significant” because there were 71 fewer seniors in 2013 than in 2012.

“We’re moving at a much slower rate than we’d like, a tortoiselike rate,” Roberson said Wednesday. “But we are improving … This is not wishful thinking, though. I say it can be done, because it can be done.”

According to 2013 graduation rates released Wednesday by the state Department of Education, both Richmond and Columbia counties remained relatively stagnant. Richmond County had the 1 percentage point drop from last year, while Columbia County’s graduation rate increased by 2 percentage points to 76 percent, but that is the same rate the district had in 2011.

Columbia County remains above the state average of 71.5 percent.

This was the third year all states have used a new, more rigorous formula to calculate graduation rates so data can be compared accurately across the country. The new method accounts only for students who graduated within four years after entering high school as freshmen.

The previous method used in Georgia looked at the percentage of seniors who graduated at the end of a year, which some say inflated numbers by counting those who took longer than four years to graduate.

Cross Creek High School’s graduation rate increased 7 points to 71 percent, making it the most improved and highest-rated in Richmond County apart from the two magnet schools, which regularly graduate 100 percent of their students.

Cross Creek Principal Jason Moore said the improvement has come from various methods the school uses to keep students on track and focused on graduation. All seniors attend a “commitment to graduate” ceremony at the beginning of the school year and wear green bracelets to remind them of their goal.

Teachers stay after school and work on Saturdays to tutor students who need help preparing for End of Course Tests or classwork.

Graduation coach ShaRon Dukes said students passing all their classes after first semester are given a certificate and candy. The staff places faux diplomas on the walls for seniors who are on track for graduation to inspire those falling behind to catch up.

Dukes said the main factor contributing to the success is that most students are involved in a sport, club or after-school activity, which makes school more fun and keeps them motivated.

“We try to reach all the students because when you’re not involved, you don’t have that motivation and enthusiasm to get better,” said Dukes, a former admissions recruiter for Georgia Regents University. “Athletes say, ‘If I want to play in the game, I got to get my act together,’ but if I’m not an athlete or in the band or ROTC, it’s hard to stay motivated.”

Roberson acknowledged that the student engagement piece might be missing from other schools.

Glenn Hills High School’s graduation rate dropped 15 percentage points to 42 percent, and only 38 percent of Butler High School’s students graduated in 2013, down from 47 percent in 2012 and 2011.

Glenn Hills Principal Charles Givens did not return a call and e-mail requesting a comment, and Butler Principal Greg Thompson declined to comment, stating that he wanted to review data with his leadership team.

Roberson said that those schools will need to help students take more ownership of their education and that their staffs must ensure the instruction is supporting the curriculum.

For the district as a whole, Roberson said he and his staff are focusing on improving school environments and getting parents more engaged in the process. This year, Roberson and his cabinet reached out to church leaders to help families become more active in their children’s education.

“We’re looking at areas where we need to show improvement, and we have to do it as consistently as possible,” he said. “There are no excuses.”

By the numbers

GRADUATION RATES

 201320122011
Georgia71.5%69.7%67.4%
Richmond County58%59%55%
Academy of Richmond County64%6360%
A.R. Johnson Health Science &
Engineering Magnet School
100%100%100%
Butler38%47%47%
Cross Creek71%64%66%
Glenn Hills42%57%46%
Hephzibah62%61%51%
John S. Davidson Fine
Arts Magnet School
100%100%100%
Laney C. Laney51%49%47%
T.W. Josey50%52%47%
Westside62%61%58%
 201320122011
Columbia County76%74%76%
Evans76%78%76%
Grovetown72%68%67%
Harlem83%67%59%
Lakeside80%77%80%
Greenbrier75%76%89%

Source: Georgia Department of Education

HOW NEARBY COUNTIES FARED

A look at graduation rates in surrounding counties:

 20132012Difference
Burke County77.9%74.22%+3.68%
Glascock County71.4%82.46%-11.06%
Jefferson County69.1%67.09%+2.01%
Jenkins County75.5%70.59%+4.91%
Lincoln County76.3%73.87%+2.43%
McDuffie County77.7%73.9%+3.8%
Warren County81.3%81.82%-0.52%

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Comments (14) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
mosovich
799
Points
mosovich 12/11/13 - 10:30 pm
4
0
Wow..

Schools with 38 and 42 percent.. That's just sad..

Pops
8354
Points
Pops 12/11/13 - 10:47 pm
5
1
Amazing comment this "educator" made

“We’re moving at a much slower rate than we’d like, a tortoiselike rate,”

The rate is dropping.....the tortoise is walking backwards........

Riverman1
83771
Points
Riverman1 12/12/13 - 05:51 am
3
0
Time To Try Something New

I'm not even going to mention Columbia County, but it's surprising that Richmond County is WAY below:

Burke County
Glascock County
Jefferson County
Jenkins County
Lincoln County
McDuffie County
Warren County

seenitB4
87088
Points
seenitB4 12/12/13 - 07:45 am
3
0
Dismal rates

This is sad for the county & the students....read & weep.

In a nutshell you can see why parents left the county & looked for greener pastures....try something new is right....or, make the parents in the county try something new..such as..

Be responsible parents
Insure homework is done
See the teacher's side sometimes
Give the child the tools he needs to succeed in life
so many blame the kids......wrong thing to do...imo

Mr. Thackeray
905
Points
Mr. Thackeray 12/12/13 - 09:20 am
1
0
WAY TO GO HARLEM!!!

WAY TO GO HARLEM!!!

InChristLove
22473
Points
InChristLove 12/12/13 - 09:30 am
1
0
When you have only 3 schools

When you have only 3 schools out of 11 that are higher than 70% graduation rate, it's not surprising Richmond County is below

Burke County
Glascock County
Jefferson County
Jenkins County
Lincoln County
McDuffie County
Warren County

Maybe some of the other RC schools should take note and follow what Dr. Moore has implemented at Cross Creek.

Mr. Thackeray
905
Points
Mr. Thackeray 12/12/13 - 10:10 am
2
0
Maybe they should all see

Maybe they should all see what is happening at Harlem, with such a remarkable increase over the last three years.

Bulldog
1324
Points
Bulldog 12/12/13 - 10:29 am
2
0
Thank you Lyndon Johnson

The Great Society has been a huge success hasn't it? When I graduated from high school, our graduation rate was very close to 100 percent. Anyone who failed a grade was ostracized and looked down on. (My how perceptions and attitudes change) After all these years of social tinkering we are now faced with a majority population in ARC which cannot even support itself and amazingly fully expects the rest of us to do it for them! Thank you democrats everywhere for destroying a great nation.

nocnoc
42499
Points
nocnoc 12/12/13 - 10:58 am
2
0
Has ARC reached the same level as many Large Cities

BOILS DOWN TO 2 MAJOR QUESTIONS:
What is making Burke County, Jefferson County, Jenkins County, Lincoln County, McDuffie County more successful than RCBOE?

Why are Glascock County, Warren County and Richmond County Failing?

Maybe its time to focus on Success and mimic these successful GA counties.

Send a IMPARTIAL person around to observe what they are doing that leads to the better Graduation rates and success.

Likely we'll find the problem is more Social Demographics and Social Economics than the Teachers, and Schools. Which is something RCBOE cannot fix. But is a Commissioner Level Issue to address for the turn around of ARC.

dichotomy
32889
Points
dichotomy 12/12/13 - 01:10 pm
0
0
"Likely we'll find the

"Likely we'll find the problem is more Social Demographics"

Bingo !!!

Or.....maybe a contributing factor was the RCBOE insisting on paying a non-working superintendent for two years while the school system tried, apparently unsuccessfully, to tread water under "acting" figurehead leadership.

Riverman1
83771
Points
Riverman1 12/12/13 - 02:07 pm
0
0
Demographics are also the

Demographics are also the reason Harlem improved so much. Its demographics are changing.

Sweet son
10388
Points
Sweet son 12/12/13 - 03:11 pm
0
0
Drop in graduation rates should result in a tax reduction!

There needs to be some serious reorganization of the system so that funds can be spent on issues that will impact the most students. All of the 'special' stuff should be cut to the bare bones and those funds should be redirected into the classroom.

I'm sure that Dr. R will say that more money will fix the problem but we know that is not the case. Teachers just like students should be graded on their performance and if they are not good then they should go. I realize that their non-parented students many times gives them little to work with but they should be held accountable.

With more money he/they will just spend it on 'hare brained' ideas like buses for the alternative school. What a joke but what do you expect.

robert2410
1628
Points
robert2410 12/12/13 - 07:11 pm
0
0
If you did a survey it would
Unpublished

If you did a survey it would be certain the lowest performing schools would have the highest percentage of Obama and democrat supporters.
There is a connection there that liberals will never be able to grasp.

class1
299
Points
class1 12/14/13 - 04:45 pm
0
0
Rates

This is pretty sad! However, this is what happens with, No Child Left Behind." Everyone gets promoted, so of course they can't pass high school. You must fix the discipline in the middle schools before high schools can be successful. How can you be successful when all you have to do to pass the GA CRCT is get about 50% correct. In the real world that is an "F." Last year, the state even lower that standards.

fosteyv1
4
Points
fosteyv1 12/27/13 - 03:24 pm
0
0
When looking at graduation

When looking at graduation rates, Richmond County should look at the surrounding counties. While I do respect Dr. Roberson and I think that he started off in the right direction, it is now time to look at other people who are making a difference in their counties. For instance, what is the superintendent in Burke County (Rudy Falana) doing to increase his graduation rates? That county is small and could be considered poor with its high poverty rate, yet the graduation rate continues to increase. He also raised the graduation rate when he was principal of Thomson High. RC should possibly make a call to Burke...

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs