RCPS achieves highest grad rate in history

Photo by Nate Kelly

Photo by Nate Kelly

CONYERS -- Rockdale County Public Schools' graduation rate is at its highest ever.

RCPS reported that 84 percent of its high school seniors graduated in 2009-10, which is up 1 percent from the 2008-09 school year when the rate was at its all-time high. Officials said the state determines the rate by using a complex formula that reflects the percentage of entering ninth-grade students who progress through high school and graduate within a specified time period.

"We continue to see that exposing students to rigorous course work, along with our safety net and credit recovery programs, have a positive impact on the success of our students," RCPS superintendent Samuel King said in a press release.

In 2002, the rate was less than 73 percent. It climbed to 80 percent by 2005, but then it was around 77 percent for the next three years.

"Innovative programs such as Open Campus and the Rockdale Career Academy give students more options when planning their path to graduation," King said.

Open Campus, which opened in fall 2008 on West Avenue in Conyers, is designed for high school-age students who need an alternative school setting -- including those who need to make up one or more courses for graduation, potential and actual dropouts, traditional students with additional wants and needs, students wanting to accelerate, and students with social, emotional, environmental and/or self-imposed issues. It holds classes throughout the regular school day and into the nighttime, and students can come and go on campus as needed.

RCA opened near Parker Road in 2006 and now serves more than 1,650 high school students in about 15 pathways that center around technology, health care, public safety, early childhood education, construction and other programs.

Like last year, the RCPS graduation rate this year is higher than the state's overall average of 80.8 percent, which also was its all-time high and up 2 percentage points from last year. The graduation rate is calculated into a school's and school system's Adequate Yearly Progress results, which all of Rockdale County's public schools and its system as a whole achieved this school year.

"We are making steady progress and giving more students than ever the tools they need to be successful after high school," said state school superintendent Brad Bryant in a press release.