NORTH FULTON, Ga. – Last year, Fulton School Superintendent Robert Avossa unveiled a strategic plan that included the ambitious goal of a 90 percent graduation rate for all students by 2017. With four years to go, Avossa is confident they can close the 15 percent gap over that period, though significant challenges remain in many schools.
The Fulton County 2013 graduation rate is 75.5 percent, which is a 4.2 percent increase over the 2012 graduation rate, and more than double the state’s 1.8 percent increase.
“We knew we could [meet our goals] by increasing the rate by 3 to 5 percent each year over five years,” said Avossa. “But to have made so much progress in such a little time is exciting. I’m thrilled with this 4.2 percent gain.”
In North Fulton, six of the 10 high school sites have already met – or are close to meeting – the 90 percent graduation goal. Of the remaining four, only Independence Alternative School with its graduation rate of 40 percent falls below 80 percent.
In contrast, none of the remaining eight high schools in the Fulton School System, located in Sandy Springs and South Fulton, have graduation rates above 76 percent. These schools have significant strides to make to double, or in some cases more than triple, the current numbers.
Among subgroups of students, white and Asian students are graduating at rates above 90 percent, while black and Hispanic students are at 56 percent and 51 percent, respectively.
Fulton School officials point out that performance in these subgroups is increasing each year. Graduation rates for black and Hispanic students grew by 7 percent and 8 percent respectively, with Roswell, Alpharetta and Johns Creek high schools all posting double-digit gains in the Hispanic subgroup alone.
“Our students, teachers, principals and parents have worked hard. They are taking the message to heart that Fulton County Schools is serious about improving academic achievement,” he said. “But while this is promising, we have to continue it. We will need another four years of similar growth to meet our goals.”