District sets another high watermark for graduation rate
Posted on 09/16/2019
Graduates from Hamilton County Schools Class of 2019The Tennessee Department of Education released district and school graduation rates for 2018-2019 today showing Hamilton County Schools moving closer to the district graduation goal in the Future Ready 2023 action plan. The district graduation rate for 2018-2019 was 86.9, which was up from 86.6 last year and the highest for the district since 2012-2013. In the district action plan, the target for 2023 is a 90 percent graduation rate.

“Earning a diploma is the first step toward economic self-sufficiency, said Dr. Bryan Johnson, Hamilton County Schools Superintendent. “Especially if the diploma represents a high-value set of skills that will prepare a graduate for success after high school.”

Three high schools in Hamilton County Schools recorded a perfect graduation rate of 100 percent. Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Upper, and Lookout Valley Middle/High were the schools with a 100 percent graduation rate for 2018-2019.

Nine high schools were ahead of the district target for 2023 with a graduation rate higher than 90 percent. The schools above the target included

High School   2018-2019 Graduation Rate
 CCA  100%
 CSLA  100%
 Lookout Valley  100%
 East Hamilton  94.1% 
 Collegiate High 98.2% 
 CGLA 96.4% 
 Ivy Academy 91.3% 
 STEM School 96.7% 
 Sale Creek  93.2% 
 Sequoyah High  90.5%
 Signal Mountain 95.9% 
 Soddy Daisy 91.1% 

Tyner Academy just missed the 90 percent mark with a graduation rate of 89.9. East Ridge High School (88.8) and Ooltewah High School (88.1) are also on a strong pace to keep the district moving forward toward the graduation rate goal.

The Promise of graduation from Hamilton County Schools is about fundamentally rethinking the school experience to expose all students to high expectations to develop and pursue their passions for learning and life goals. Whether a graduate's dream is to move into a high-paying, skill-based career just out of high school, a technical credential, a two or four-year college degree, or a professional degree, each will have the opportunity to prepare themselves to succeed. The key to rethinking the school experience is that students will have a clearer picture of their life after high school and be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and resources to make their dreams a reality.

College and career advisor were added in the district to provide a full-time person at each high school this year to keep the district graduation rate moving upward. The district also added a lead college and career advisor to oversee the work and provide high school teens the resources to reach graduation prepared for success.

“Future Ready 2023 has numbers as goals, but success is much more than numbers. Success means opening doors to the future for new graduates of Hamilton County Schools,” Dr. Johnson, added. “Seniors exiting high school prepared for the opportunities available in college, career technical education, or in their chosen career means a brighter tomorrow for themselves, their families, and our community as a whole.”

Future Ready Institutes added additional learning options for students this year with 28 institutes now available in 13 high schools. Future Ready Institutes found immediate success with one-third of last year’s freshman class enrolled in the programs first year and the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga awarding the program their Community Impact Award.

Providing early post-secondary options for high school students is also a key component to improve the high school experience in Hamilton County Schools. Last year saw tremendous increases in early college option courses such as Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) taken by students, and more students earning an industry certification. During the 2018-2019 school year, 916 more students enrolled in one of the advanced academic courses. During 2017-2018, 1,951 students enrolled in an early college course. For the 2018-2019 school year, that number increased to 2,867 students getting an early start on college. Many of those students are taking more than one course, so the total number of courses taken is even higher. High school students took over 5,000 early post-secondary option classes across the district during the 2018-2019 school year.

The number of students earning an industry certification more than tripled last school year with 224 earned by high school students. Industry certifications allow graduates to leave high school prepared with a job skill in the career field of their choice. The focus on “Future Ready Students” will help increase the number of graduates earning early post-secondary credits and keep the district’s graduation rate on the rise.