Graduation rates hit all-time high

Graduation rates hit all-time high
Posted on 11/15/2016
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016


District’s high school graduation rate up

for sixth straight year, marks all-time high

BEAUFORT – The Beaufort County School District’s on-time high school graduation rate improved for a sixth consecutive year in 2016 to an all-time high, according to data released today by the South Carolina Department of Education. 

The district’s graduation rate – the percentage of students who complete high school “on time” and get a diploma in four years – improved to 83.4 percent, up from 78.7 percent in 2015 and up from 75.1 in 2012

The new graduation rate report included several highlights for Beaufort County:

  • The district’s 2016 rate of 83.4 percent exceeded the state rate of 82.6 percent.
  • The district exceeded the most recently reported national rate of 83.2 percent (for 2015), the highest ever recorded in the U.S. 
  • For the first time ever, graduation rates at all district high schools were higher than 80 percent.

“If a school system’s components are working well, from kindergarten through high school graduation, then it should be preparing students to earn their diplomas ‘on time’ in four years,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss.  “Six straight years of increasing graduation rates is solid proof of improvement across the board, and our educators, our students, our parents and our entire community should all be proud of that."

Moss described a high school diploma as the first step toward the additional education and training that students need for productive and good-paying careers.

“Our mission as educators is to prepare students for a career marketplace where they’ll compete against young people not only from around Beaufort County, but also from around the nation and around the world.  Our mission as a school district is to prepare our graduates to succeed in that world."

Beaufort High’s rate improved from 80.2 in 2015 to 85.3 percent in 2016; Bluffton High improved from 73.6 to 84; Hilton Head High improved from 87.7 to 89 percent; Whale Branch Early College High improved from 71.4 percent to 81.7 percent. Battery Creek High decreased slightly from 81 percent to 80.4 percent.

Looking at five-year trend data, the South Carolina Department of Education reported improvements at all five schools.  Battery Creek High’s four-year on-time graduation rate improved from 71.2 percent in 2012 to 80.4 percent in 2016.  Beaufort High improved from 75.6 percent to 85.3 percent; Bluffton High improved from 70.1 percent to 84 percent; Hilton Head Island High improved from 81.8 percent to 89 percent; and Whale Branch Early College High improved from 81 percent to 81.7 percent.

Moss said that the district’s steadily improving graduation rates were the result of a comprehensive strategy that included:

  • Effectively and quickly identifying students when they start to struggle academically.
  • Providing those students with intensive counseling, direct assistance in after-school programs and additional individualized instruction from teachers.  High schools receive additional funds to support individualized tutoring efforts.
  • Credit recovery initiatives that allow students to earn credits in courses where they struggle.
  • The district’s transition to a “four-by-four block schedule” that offers students more opportunities to earn the state-required total of 24 credits to earn a diploma.

The superintendent also credited the efforts of students and educators in the elementary and middle school grades.

“We’ve made some intensive efforts in our high schools,” Moss said, “but those efforts can’t be effective unless students have acquired enough knowledge and skill in elementary and middle school.  Education is a long-term proposition where you don’t find out how successful you’ve been until many years after that first day of kindergarten.”