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MCPS Graduation Rates Rose Last Year, Yet Local Schools Showed Mixed Results

The four-year graduation rate for Montgomery County Public Schools has risen to 89.8 percent, according to data released by the Maryland State Department of Education on Tuesday. The MCPS graduation rate rose by 0.4 percentage points, a slight increase from the previous year and has risen 1.5 percentage points over the past three years.

The MCPS graduation rate for the class of 2016 is 2.2 percentage points higher than the rate for the state of Maryland.

“The increase in the MCPS graduation rate is encouraging and is an indicator that the district’s initiatives, programs and efforts are working,” said Board of Education President Michael Durso. “Our work will not be complete until 100 percent of our students graduate with the skills and knowledge they will need to thrive in their future.”

However, the graduation rates are local Germantown/ Clarksburg high schools have had mixed results. Only one of the local high schools saw in increase in the graduation rate, with the other two posting decreases.

According to MCPS, Northwest High School’s graduation rate showed a slight increase. The graduation rate at Northwest was 95.1 percent for the 2015-2016 school year, up from 94.5 percent from the previous year.

Seneca Valley High School’s graduation rate dropped to 82.2 percent in 2015-2016 a full 2-point drop from 84.2 percent in 2014-2015.

The graduation rate at Clarksburg High School fell 2.5 percentage points from 93.4 in 2014-2015 to 90.9 percent in 2015-2016.

With graduation rates in the middle- to upper-90s Clarksburg and Northwest are just below MCPS schools with the highest graduation rates. The MCPS high schools with the highest graduation rates in 2015-2016 were Thomas S. Wootton at 98.1 percent, Poolesville at 97.4 percent, Winston Churchill graduating 96.5 percent, and Walt Whitman at 96.1 percent.

Countywide the four-year graduation rate has improved for nearly all major student subgroups in MCPS. For instance, the MCPS graduation rate for African American students rose to 87.7, a one-year increase of 0.9 percentage points and a three-year increase of 3.8 points. The graduation rate for MCPS Hispanic students rose to 80.4 percent, a one-year increase of 0.8 percentage points and a three-year increase of 2.9 points.

“We have made progress in our efforts to narrow achievement gaps, but there is still much work to be done to ensure all of our students graduate on time ready for college and the work force,” said Superintendent Jack Smith. “While graduation is the final milestone, our work to provide students with supports and address their individual needs begins at the elementary level.”

The gap in graduation rates between African American and Caucasian students has narrowed by 3 percentage points over the past three years. The gap between Hispanic and Caucasian students has narrowed by 2.1 percentage points.

The graduation rate for MCPS students who receive special education services and Free and Reduced-price Meals (FARMS) also continues to improve. For special education students, the graduation rate is 72.0 percent, up 4.5 points from 2013. For students receiving FARMS, the graduation rate is 82.9, up 4.8 points over the last three years.

Twelve of the school system’s 25 high schools saw a one-year increase in the graduation rates, and 14 high schools saw a three-year increase. Among the highlights of school performance:

The MCPS high schools with the biggest one-year gain in graduation rates are Rockville which showed an increase of 4.0 percentage points, Sherwood an increase of 2.9 points, Richard Montgomery up 2.7 percentage points, Springbrook an increase of 2.5 points, and Gaithersburg up 2.5 points.

The MCPS high schools with the biggest three-year gain in graduation rates are Wheaton which is up 13.6 percentage points, Albert Einstein showed an increase of 5.0 points over three years, Richard Montgomery up 4.5 points, and Watkins Mill an increase of 3.5 points.

Ranking of Montgomery County high schools by four-year graduation rate: 1. Thomas S. Wootton High School, Rockville (98.1 percent) 2. Poolesville High School, Poolesville (97.4 percent) 3. Winston Churchill High School, Potomac (96.5 percent) 4. Walt Whitman High School, Bethesda (96.1 percent) 5. Northwest High School, Germantown (95.1 percent) 6. Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Bethesda (94.9 percent) 7. Sherwood High School, Sandy Spring (94.7 percent) 8. Walter Johnson High School, Bethesda (94.4 percent) 9. Quince Orchard High School, Gaithersburg (93.8 percent) 10. Richard Montgomery High School, Rockville (93.1 percent) 11. Damascus High School, Damascus (92.3 percent) 12. Clarksburg High School, Clarksburg (90.9 percent) 13. Paint Branch High School, Burtonsville (89.6 percent) 14. Col. Zadok Magruder High School, Rockville (89.4 percent) 15. Rockville High School, Rockville (89.3 percent) 16. James Hubert Blake High School, Silver Spring (88.9 percent) 17. Watkins Mill High School, Gaithersburg (88.5 percent) 18. Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring (88.3 percent) 19. Springbrook High School, Silver Spring (87.4 percent) 20. Albert Einstein High School, Kensington (83.2 percent) 21. Northwood High School, Silver Spring (82.9 percent) 22. Wheaton High School, Silver Spring (82.2 percent) 23. Seneca Valley High School, Germantown (82.2 percent) 24. Gaithersburg High School, Gaithersburg (80.1 percent) 25. John F. Kennedy High School, Silver Spring (76.3 percent)

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