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Gaston’s graduation rate increases to 88 percent

Immediate Release
September 1, 2016
Contact: Todd Hagans
Chief Communications Officer
Office: (704) 866-6118
Cell: (704) 718-0279

Gaston’s graduation rate increases again; now at 88 percent
Rate rises for the seventh consecutive year and is above the state average

Gastonia, N.C. – The high school graduation rate for Gaston County Schools has increased again, according to information released today by the North Carolina State Board of Education. The graduation rate for the Class of 2016 is 88 percent, which is the best rate ever for the school district.

The Gaston rate of 88 percent is higher than the state graduation rate of 85.8 percent.

Graduation rate increases again The district’s graduation rate has increased each year for the past seven years, and seven high schools have rates that exceed 90 percent. Last year, four of Gaston’s high schools surpassed the 90-percent mark.

Called the four-year cohort graduation rate, it reflects the percentage of students who entered the ninth grade in 2012-2013 and graduated four years later in June 2016. The 2016 rate is higher than last year’s mark of 86.3 percent, and since the state first calculated the graduation rate in 2006, Gaston County Schools has increased 19.9 points from 68.1 to 88 percent.

“To see our graduation rate increase again for the seventh consecutive year is a significant accomplishment for our schools and our community,” said Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker, who also is the 2016-2017 Southwest Region Superintendent of the Year. “Working with children to ensure they have graduation in sight begins at the elementary level. Graduation is the ultimate goal that we want to instill in students at a young age so they will move successfully from elementary school to middle school and then to high school and walk across the graduation stage.”

Booker continued, “We believe students and their parents realize that having a high school diploma is more important now than ever before. The diploma unlocks the door to the future for whatever students want to do in life, whether it’s going to college, joining the military, or getting a job in our competitive workforce. We want every child to graduate from high school, and the increase in our graduation rate over the years shows that we are moving in the right direction.”

Continuing to increase the graduation rate is a team approach that involves administrators, teachers, counselors, social workers, nurses, and other support personnel working with students and parents on academics, attendance, dropout prevention, and other issues that may impede a student’s progress, according to Booker. Programs that focus on character education, discipline, and counseling/mental health also help the school district’s efforts to keep students in school and on track for graduation.

It is important to note that the four-year graduation rate is not the same as the dropout rate, which indicates the number of students who drop out of high school in a given year.

Some students need an extra year of high school to complete graduation requirements. The district’s five-year cohort graduation rate is 88.2 percent, which is higher than last year’s five-year rate of 85.4. The five-year cohort graduation rate reflects the number of students who entered the ninth grade in 2011-2012 and graduated in 2016.

Here is a look at several graduation rate highlights
  • This year’s graduation rate (88 percent) is the highest ever for Gaston County Schools. 
  • Gaston’s rate of 88 percent is higher than the state graduation rate of 85.8 percent. 
  • Since the state first reported the graduation rate in 2006, Gaston’s rate has increased 19.9 points (from 68.1 to 88 percent).  
  • Seven high schools have a graduation rate that exceeds 90 percent – Ashbrook, Cherryville, Stuart W. Cramer, Forestview, Gaston Early College, Highland, and South Point. 
  • The Highland School of Technology has a 100 percent graduation rate. Highland consistently ranks as having one of the highest school graduation rates in the state.
  • In its first year of having a senior class, Stuart W. Cramer High School, which opened in August 2013 with only ninth and tenth grade students, achieved a graduation rate of 98.7 percent. 
  • Cherryville (+4.3 points), North Gaston (+2.8 points), and Ashbrook (+2.3 points) had the most significant gains over last year.  
  • Over the past four years, Bessemer City and Hunter Huss had the most significant gains. Bessemer City is up 17.2 points (62.8 to 80 percent) and Hunter Huss is up 15.9 points (65.4 to 81.3 percent).  
  • GCS increased 1.7 points over last year while the state increase was only four-tenths of a point. 
Click here for graduation rate charts.