Hamilton County Schools posts highest graduation rate since the move to more rigorous requirements in 2011
Posted on 10/04/2018
2018 graduation photoHamilton County Schools has posted the highest graduation rate since the state changed the graduation rate calculation in 2011. The district increased the graduation rate almost two points at 86.5 percent up from 84.6 percent in 2017. The district also moved closer to the state graduation rate in the latest report released today by the Tennessee Department of Education. Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced the 2017-18 high school graduation rate with the state held steady versus last year at 89.1 percent.

Hamilton County Schools improved the graduation rate as the state raised the bar by requiring participation in the ACT or SAT as a graduation requirement for Tennessee students. This year’s results are the first to reflect this change in accountability by the State Board of Education.

“We have accomplished our community’s highest graduation rate even as the state is holding students to higher expectations,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “The graduation rate is one of many indicators of success for a school district and the latest to show the progression of Hamilton County Schools to becoming the fastest improving school district in Tennessee.”

The state also recently released the district accountability and school designations. These results are part of the first year of the implementation of the revised Tennessee district, and school accountability model under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which now includes multiple measures of success.

Hamilton County Schools earned a Satisfactory rating – which was a result of progress for both all students and student subgroups. The district’s performance reflects a need to focus on student groups and accelerating achievement for those students who are furthest behind.

The district also had 17 schools earn Reward school status in the 2018 Reward and Priority schools announcement by the state. Reward status is the top distinction a school can earn in Tennessee. Reward schools demonstrate improvement or high performance across five indicators for both all students and student groups: (1) Achievement, (2) Growth, (3) Chronic Absenteeism, (4) Ready Graduates, and (5) English learner language proficiency. These five indicators also formed the basis for district accountability.

The Hamilton County Board of Education’s Future Ready 2023 action plan has set the stage for continued academic improvement as the plan provides goals and landmarks on the journey to reaching the academic achievement levels the community desires for its schools. The district plan has led to department plans and individual school plans to support moving the district forward. Plans focus on academic improvement for each school and each child. Future Ready 2023 action areas include accelerating student achievement across the district, providing future-ready students prepared for success after graduation, staffing our schools with great teachers and leaders, engaging the community in the education process, and providing efficient and effective operations to deliver high-quality education for our children.

“The improvement we see is encouraging and moving our schools in the right direction, but we are not satisfied,” Dr. Johnson added. “The mission for Hamilton County Schools is to have more graduates walking across the stage to receive a high school diploma prepared for success for themselves and their family.”