Graduation rates up in Troup County School System

Published 1:50 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Graduation rates are up in the Troup County School System.

The Georgia Department of Education released its 2017 four-year cohort graduation rates Wednesday and Troup County Schools saw its numbers improve from last year.

The Troup County School System’s graduation rate is 78 percent, up 1.1 percent from 2016 and 6.6 percent from 2015.

The system remains below the Georgia Department of Education average, which is 80.6 percent. Both Callaway High School and LaGrange High School saw its rate increase this year, while Troup High School — which had the highest graduation rate of the three schools in 2015 and 2016 — had the third highest this year.

Callaway’s graduation rate is 78.5 percent, an increase of 3.6 percent over 2016 and a 11.3 percent over 2015.

LaGrange High School’s graduation rate is 79.9 percent, an increase of 5.2 percent over 2016 and 9.2 percent over 2015.

Troup High School’s graduation rate is 78 percent, a 2.9 percent decrease from 2016, but still 2.2 percent higher than 2015.

According to a press release from the Troup County School System, there were a total of 898 Troup County School System graduates this year.

The rate is calculated using the adjusted cohort rate, which is defined as the number of students who enter their freshman year together and graduate together within four years. It includes adjustments for student transfers and if a student drops out or is removed from the school for disciplinary reasons, the rate is impacted.

Jonathan Laney, Callaway High School Principal said in a press release that the improvement in the graduation rate at his school is due to a hard focus on student data.

“At Callaway, we have a data room where the staff and I meet to have open conversations about student trajectories. For example, if a student is reaching a point where they may not make it through high school, we talk about — and give them — the additional support they need,” Laney said. “This means we have to know our students and create a relationship of trust with them. Our main goal is to reach them before they make it to that point so we can help them early on.”

LaGrange High School principal Alton White said his staff is making sure students understand the importance of earning a high school diploma.

“We have tried to make sure our students understand the importance of a high school diploma, while at the same time trying to get them to have some ownership in this,” White said. “Two years ago, we started a Freshman Academy. The first event of the year is a ceremony where they sign a graduation gown to make a commitment to graduate from high school. We want them to understand graduation is a step towards their ultimate goal – not the goal itself.”

Troup High School principal Chip Medders said his school has had high graduation rates the last few years and is already prepared for this year.

“Graduating students is the goal we have for every student that enters Troup High School. We have seen a steady increase in our graduation rate during the past four years; peaking at 80.9 percent in 2016,” Medders said.

“This past school year, our graduation rate dropped 2.9 percent due to discipline decisions in the 2015 school year. These decisions needed to be made for the betterment of our school.”