Education

Charlotte-area schools dominate NC awards for top grad rates

Cato Middle College High in CMS is among several specialized, selective North Carolina schools with 100 percent graduation in 2016.
Cato Middle College High in CMS is among several specialized, selective North Carolina schools with 100 percent graduation in 2016. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Union and Gaston county high schools dominate the roster of North Carolina schools being honored for top graduation rates Tuesday.

The Department of Public Instruction will honor districts and schools that had the highest 2016 on-time graduation rates at a ceremony in Raleigh.

Union County Public Schools, with an overall graduation rate of 92.8 percent, topped the list for large districts (those with more than 2,000 ninth-graders in 2012-13; the rate is based on how many graduated four years later).

Many small, selective high schools, especially those located on college campuses, had 100 percent graduation rates. So the department also recognized schools based on size.

Ardrey Kell (98.1 percent) and Mallard Creek (97.8 percent) high schools, both neighborhood schools in CMS, took the top two spots for schools that started with at least 500 ninth-graders.

CMS also took top honors in the 400 to 499 group, with Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology at 97.8 percent and Providence High at 97.4 percent.

The top schools in the 300 to 399 group were both from Union County: Marvin Ridge High (99.7 percent) and Weddington High (99 percent).

In the 200 to 299 group, Gaston County’s Stuart Cramer High tied with Macon County’s Franklin High at 98.7 percent.

For 100 to 199 students, Gaston’s Highland School of Technology and Union’s Central Academy of Technology and Arts tied at 100 percent.

Districts across North Carolina and the United States have seen graduation rates climb in recent years, in part because of an increase in online learning options, such as programs to help students master skills to get credit for classes they failed the first time. The statewide rate of 85.6 percent was the highest since North Carolian began tracking the outcomes for ninth-graders.

Ann Doss Helms: 704-358-5033, @anndosshelms

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