Clayton graduation rates increase 2 percent

JONESBORO — Lovejoy High School topped the state graduation average for Clayton County’s Class of 2012. More than seven out of 10 students graduated on time from the school.

The Georgia Department of Education released a report of statewide graduation rates Tuesday.

The state average rose more than 2 percentage points over the previous year, from 67.4 percent in 2011 to 69.7 percent in 2012. The rate at Lovejoy rose from 61.12 percent to 72.71 percent — the highest graduation rate for Clayton County Public Schools.

The district, like the state, experienced an overall average increase of 2 percent, up from 51.48 percent in 2011 to 53.61 percent in 2012, according to data from the state education department.

Clayton County had four high schools with improved graduation rates including Lovejoy with an 11-point spike, Morrow with a 10-point jump, Forest Park with a 6-point increase and North Clayton with its 1.5-point climb. However, six of the district’s nine high schools graduated less than 55 percent of its students on time.

The 2011 changes to how the state calculates graduation rates now only considers students who complete the requirements for high school graduation in four years.

Superintendent Luvenia Jackson said that although the year-over-year increase was small overall, the report demonstrates a move in the right direction. It also offers educators an opportunity to learn from schools whose rates are higher than others.

“We are looking very closely at these four schools and the things they are doing to bring those numbers up,” she said. “Now we need to take a hard look at what everybody is doing to be sure the things that are working are in place at all of our high schools.”

Jackson pointed to one concern in students struggling to transition into high school and successfully complete their freshman year.

“That’s where we really need to concentrate our efforts,” she said. “We have got to help ensure a successful transition from middle to high school for all of our students.”

Jackson said she believes that in the year since the 2012 graduation season, the district has made gains in graduating students on time.

Clayton County school level graduation rates

School 2011 — 2012

Charles Drew NA — 54.33

Forest Park 42.50 — 48.70

Jonesboro 58.45 — 54.03

Lovejoy 61.12 — 72.71

Morrow 51.29 — 61.74

Mount Zion 56.58 — 51.28

Mundy’s Mill 57.87 — 56.35

North Clayton 48.82 — 50.28

Riverdale 53.58 — 43.07

Source: Clayton County Public Schools