While Georgia’s high school graduation rate increased in 2019, rising to 82 percent, the DeKalb County School District saw a slight decrease in their graduation rate.

The DeKalb County School District’s (DCSD) four-year graduation rate for the Class of 2019 is 73.4, based on data from the Georgia Department of Education released in September. That means that the district showed a decrease of 1.5 percentage points from the Class of 2018 graduation rate of 74.9.

“The latest graduation rates are a bittersweet reminder that DeKalb County School District has made great strides in the past four years, but still has plenty of work to do to ensure all students succeed in college, a career, or the military,” said Superintendent R. Stephen Green. “We are ecstatic that certain high schools have shown significant growth – with some increasing their graduation rates by double digits. But this is also evidence that we must double our efforts to maintain an upward trajectory.”

Georgia calculates a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate as required by federal law. This rate is the number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma, divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class. From the beginning of ninth grade, students who are entering that grade for the first time form a cohort that is subsequently adjusted by adding any students who transfer into the cohort during the next three years, and subtracting any students who transfer out.

1
2
1
1
1

(2) comments

Amanda Rumsey

While I hate to see the news of graduation rates decreasing in DeKalb, I can’t resist the opportunity to share a bit of history and theory, along with advocacy that is related directly to this post. From 2007-2013 Dekalb county had additional certified school counselors (called graduation coaches) in every middle and high school who were charged with working specifically with a caseload of students who were at risk for potential school dropout in the future. While that additional academic, social emotional, and career development support had promising results, the grant funding ended in 2013 and Graduation Coaches were abruptly let go. This was certainly understandable, given the financial crisis and lack of internal funds but that leads me to the next piece, the theory.

One of the things that keeps kids in school is the relationship they have with at least one understanding adult. While graduation coaches were helpful for a time period, there are other ways to ensure stronger relationships and increased understanding for struggling students. Research strongly supports the ideas that students who grow up in chronically stressful environments are more likely to experience challenges with learning and behavior. Among many other things, chronically stressful environments can include poverty, violent neighborhoods, transience, immigration status, and family conflict. Schools are now being charged with implementing trauma informed programs that support the whole child and take into account the needs of all students, including those who come to us with chronic stress. If schools continue to see the learning and behavior problems as the “fault” of the child and continuously instill interventions such as retention and suspension, they fail to reach those children that need more than the typical classroom instruction and those students will leave the setting as soon as they are able.

School counselors are individuals who can help lead the charge in creating trauma informed schools that support all students. They are trained mental health professionals that can assess needs and provide support for social emotional needs, academic needs, and career development needs in the schools; however, they can only do this when they are not overwhelmed with non-counseling duties. The American School Counselor recommends a ration of 250:1 for school counselors. Dekalb is nowhere near that ratio. DeKalb could start the process of providing key support that increases graduation rates by improving school counselor ratios in all of the schools.

Amanda Rumsey

While I hate to see the news of graduation rates decreasing, I can’t resist the opportunity to share a bit of history and theory, along with advocacy that is related directly to this post. From 2007-2013 Dekalb county had additional certified school counselors (called graduation coaches) in every middle and high school who were charged with working specifically with a caseload of students who were at risk for potential school dropout in the future. While that additional academic, social emotional, and career development support had promising results, the grant funding ended in 2013 and Graduation Coaches were abruptly let go. This was certainly understandable, given the financial crisis and lack of internal funds but that leads me to the next piece, the theory.

One of the things that keeps kids in school is the relationship they have with at least one understanding adult. While graduation coaches were helpful for a time period, there are other ways to ensure stronger relationships and increased understanding for struggling students. Research strongly supports the ideas that students who grow up in chronically stressful environments are more likely to experience challenges with learning and behavior. Among many other things, chronically stressful environments can include poverty, violent neighborhoods, transience, immigration status, and family conflict. Schools are now being charged with implementing trauma informed programs that support the whole child and take into account the needs of all students, including those who come to us with chronic stress. If schools continue to see the learning and behavior problems as the “fault” of the child and continuously instill interventions such as retention and suspension, they fail to reach those children that need more than the typical classroom instruction and those students will leave the setting as soon as they are able.

School counselors are individuals who can help lead the charge in creating trauma informed schools that support all students. They are trained mental health professionals that can assess needs and provide support for social emotional needs, academic needs, and career development needs in the schools; however, they can only do this when they are not overwhelmed with non-counseling duties. The American School Counselor recommends a ration of 250:1 for school counselors. Dekalb is nowhere near that ratio. DeKalb could start the process of providing key support that increases graduation rates by improving school counselor ratios in all of the schools.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.