Atlanta Public Schools saw its graduation rate increase to an all-time high, and Buckhead’s two public high schools had rates above the district and state averages, according to statistics released Nov. 10 by the Georgia Department of Education.

The state’s mark was 83.8%, nearly two points above the 2019 rate of 82.0%.

North Atlanta saw its score rise from 91.1% in 2019 to 92.3 this year, and Atlanta Classical Academy, which had its first senior class in 2019, had a rate of 97.7% this year, 9.1% above last year’s rate (88.6%). The Atlanta district’s rate, which saw a record high mark of 79.9% in 2018, dropped by nearly two points to 78.0% last year but increased to 80.3% in 2020. Its rate has jumped by 21.1% since 2014.

“I applaud the class of 2020 for reaching this important milestone,” Superintendent Lisa Herring said of the record rate in a news release. “Reaching the district’s highest graduation rate culminates four years of hard work for this class. In addition, they completed their final semester of high school during a pandemic, which shows that our students, schools and staff can achieve strong outcomes even amid adversity.”

More students — 2,570 of them — graduated on-time from the district in 2020 than any other year since 2012, when the state adopted the cohort graduation rate as required by federal law. This is an increase of 64 graduates from last year. The 2020 cohort included 3,202 students, only 13 fewer than the 2019 cohort.

On a statewide level, 105 school districts and 230 schools recorded graduation rates at or above 90% this year. Twenty-nine districts and 89 schools recorded rates at or above 95%.

“I’m very proud today of the class of 2020,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said in a news release. “These students were faced with difficulties none of us could have imagined due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they have shown over and over again – in ACT and SAT results, in their personal accomplishments and now in this graduation rate — that they were able to rise above.

“While these results are positive, we cannot stop here. We must provide tailored and personalized pathways to ensure every student sees the relevance in their education, stays in school, and receives a high-school diploma that prepares them for their future.”

For more information on graduation rates, visit

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