Pepperell Drive-thru Graduation

Pepperell graduate Nick Spranza (center) has his photo taken during Friday’s drive-thru graduation with Principal Jamey Alcorn (from left), Floyd County Schools Superintendent Jeff Wilson, and Floyd County school board chair Tony Daniel.

Rome City and Floyd County schools’ four-year graduation rates for the Class of 2020 ranks among the top in the state, according to data released Tuesday by the Georgia Department of Education.

Floyd County Schools’ overall 94.6% rate is well above the state average of 83.8%. The four-year rate tracks students through high school as opposed to providing a snapshot of the class makeup in one year.

Rome City Schools also was in the elite echelon with Rome High Class of 2020 clocking in at 93%.

FCS Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer John Parker said maintaining a rate at or above 93% is “an extremely difficult task.”

“This is the culmination of 13 years of hard work and perseverance by our students,” he said. “Graduation is a point of focus for us and is a clear indicator of student success.”

All four high schools in the county system were above 90% in the state report. Pepperell High had the highest graduation rate in the system at 97.4%, Armuchee High wasn’t far behind with 96.9%; Model High had a rate of 93.4%, and Coosa High was at 90.6%.

“I was ecstatic to learn the Pepperell High School Class of 2020 Graduation rate a few days ago,” Principal Jamey Alcorn said, noting that the rate has steadily increased over the last several years.

Alcorn said the metric is a clear indicator on the overall health of the school’s programs — and the perseverance of the students and their families in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Each of these students faced unprecedented challenges last spring and embodied the core values that are expected of a Pepperell High School graduate,” he said.

In addition to crediting the students, faculty and staff, Alcorn pointed to the feeder elementary and middle schools that prepared the students for high school.

FCS Superintendent Glenn White said the system’s graduation rate this year “is a testimony to the dedication and effort of our teachers, administrators, and support staff,” along with the students. He also thanked parents.

“It is a team effort from all stakeholders that achieves this kind of result,” White said.

GaDOE officials said the overall rate is an all-time high since the state began using the adjusted cohort calculation now required by federal law. Georgia’s graduation rate has increased by 14.1 percentage points since 2012, with steady increases each year.

This year, 105 school districts recorded graduation rates at or above 90% and 29 districts were at or above 95%.

Part of this year’s increase is attributed to a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education in 2019. It lets the state count students with the most significant cognitive disabilities – approximately 1% overall – in the year they graduate, even if that is more than four years after they begin high school.

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