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More City Schools Students Graduate High School in Four Years

Graduation rates for all student groups increase, drop-out rate declines

(Baltimore, MD) – Baltimore City Public Schools’ four-year graduation rate increased over last year, with across-the-board increases among students in all demographic groups, according to data released by the Maryland State Department of Education. Of the 5,195 students in the Class of 2018, 72.2 percent graduated in four years.

Since 2010, the four-year graduation rate has increased 10.7 percentage points overall. This year’s 1.5-point gain is the largest in more than five years.

Bar chart of graduation data

Within demographic groups from the Class of 2017 to the Class of 2018, the graduation rate for African American students increased from 72.1 percent to 73.5 percent, for Hispanic/Latino students from 52.0 percent to 54.9 percent, for white students from 70.1 percent to 72.9 percent, and for students with disabilities from 51.3 percent to 52.2 percent. Though the smallest group of students, English learners had the largest increase, from 41.0 percent to 51.2 percent—a 10.2-point gain.

“I’m pleased to see all of our student groups graduating at higher rates,” said City Schools CEO Sonja Brookins Santelises. “Since we launched our blueprint for success last year, our work has included strengthening opportunities for young people to participate in real-world experiences, more rigorous academic programs, and more enriching in-school and after-school activities. When we meet students’ needs and interests, they are more motivated to be in school, they take more ownership of their learning, and they make stronger connections to their school communities. There is a lot of work ahead, but we are heading in the right direction.” 

As more City Schools graduate high school, fewer students are dropping out, according to the state’s data. The dropout rate decreased slightly from 15.9 percent in 2017 to 15.0 percent in 2018. Decreases were seen across all subgroups with the exception of students with disabilities, where the rate increased from 22.1 percent in 2017 to 23.3 percent in 2018.

“City Schools is on an upward trajectory,” said Cheryl Casciani, chair of the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners. “We saw gains on the statewide PARCC assessments at the beginning of the year, and these improvements in graduation and drop-out rates give an indication that students at all grade levels are benefiting from our deliberate focus on excellence and equity. As implementation of our blueprint continues, I’m looking forward to even more success for our students and schools.” 

The state also released 5-year graduation data for City Schools’ Class of 2017, who entered 9th grade in the 2013-14 school year. The 5-year graduation rate has remained steady since 2014 at just under 75 percent.