Hiram High School increased its graduation rate in 2019 by more than 6% compared to 2018, according to the Georgia Department of Education.

The Paulding County School District’s 2019 graduation rate increased for the fifth consecutive year and again widened the gap between its average and statewide.

In addition, its oldest high school, Paulding County High, continued a five-year climb in which its students increased their graduation rate by more than 21% since 2014.

The school district’s four-year graduation rate rose to 88.8% in 2019, an increase of 2.5% from 2018 and nearly 7% higher than the state average, according to data released by the Georgia Department of Education.

The data released by the state also shows four of the district’s five high schools increased the percentage of students graduating within four years, and for the first time under the state’s CCRPI calculation, all Paulding high schools have graduation rates above 85%.

Among individual schools, the largest one-year increase in the four-year graduation rate was shown at Hiram High School, which rose 6.7% from 82.0% in 2018 to 88.7% in 2019.

Others showing one-year increases in their four-year graduation rates were:

Paulding County High School, which increased 3.9% from 85.2% to 89.1%.

Its rate exceeded both the districtwide and statewide rates for the first time since 2014.

The school’s four-year graduation rate in 2014 was 67.8%.

South Paulding, up 2.0%, from 83.1% to 85.1%;

East Paulding, up 1.6%, from 87.1% to 88.7%

North Paulding was the only high school to show a decrease, dropping 1.5% from 93.1% in 2018 to 91.6% in 2019.

According to the state education department data, the Georgia average graduation rate was 82.0% in 2019, and Paulding students exceeded that average by 6.8%.

Paulding students topped the state average by 4.1% in 2018.

Even as the state graduation rate has risen each of the last five years, Paulding students have managed to widen the gap by increasing the district’s graduation rate at a faster pace.

Also, for the first time, the Paulding school district’s five-year graduation rate topped 90%, rising to 90.2%.

The state measures both four-year and five-year graduation rates as part of each school district’s College and Career Ready Performance Index calculation.

Superintendent Brian Otott said, “Once again, the graduation report is terrific news for the Paulding County School District.”

“The improvement this year even tops what our students accomplished last year, and that means our district is now rapidly approaching 90% for the four-year graduation rate and actually topped 90% for the five-year rate.

“Hard work by our teachers, our counselors and, of course, our students, produced these outstanding results,” he said. “It’s an impressive achievement that all five Paulding County high schools are now graduating 85% of students in four years.”

Georgia calculates the graduation rate using a formula known as the adjusted cohort rate which is required by the U.S. Department of Education.

The four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate defines the specific group of students who enter as Paulding schools as freshmen and graduate within four years, with adjustments made for student transfers.

The Paulding County School District graduation rate has topped the state average for the past nine years.

Since 2012, the district’s graduation rate has increased more than 13 percentage points.

Also of note, of the 17 school districts in Georgia with a 2019 graduating class of more than 2,000 students, the Paulding County School District’s graduation rate ranked third — rising from 10th in 2018).

Of the 23 school districts in Georgia with a 2019 graduating class of 1,000 students or more, the Paulding County School District’s graduation rate ranked fifth — rising from 14th in 2018.

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