MOULTRIE, Ga. — The Colquitt County School System increased its graduation rate by almost 6 percentage points between 2018 and 2019, according to statistics released this week by the school system.

While the state’s graduation rate increased as well, the local system’s change took it from below the state rate to above it in one year.

The graduation rate for Colquitt County High School and the Colquitt County Alternative School totaled 85.36 percent in 2019. That’s up from 79.58 percent in 2018.

The state rate rose from 81.6 percent to 82 percent over the same time period.

The graduation rate is calculated by comparing the number of graduates with the “adjusted cohort.” The cohort is the class of students who start ninth grade together, and that’s adjusted by student who transfer in or out of the system over the next four years.

“I would like to attribute our graduation rate specifically to the work of our teachers and students,” Colquitt County High School Principal Jamie Dixon said. 

“We have embraced the idea that every employee is a graduation coach,” he said. “Our teachers worked extraordinarily hard to ensure that every student had the chance to succeed and walk across the stage this past spring.”

Dixon specifically pointed out the remediation that some students received during Hawg Time, a period created by new scheduling a few years ago that allows students who need it to get help during the school day. It’s also the period when students in clubs participate in those activities.

“Teachers and students alike have also made the case that Hawg Time works!” Dixon said. “This program allows for ongoing remediation during the school day.  Data indicates that our kids sought out the additional help that this program provides on a regular basis.”

Dixon also pointed to the teachers’ Professional Learning Communities — groups that use data points to identify strengths and weaknesses in assessment values, the teachers’ methodologies and progress monitoring. The communities, which are located throughout the academic disciplines, enable the teachers to better individualize the students’ education, he said.

“Finally, our faculty works to build strong relationships with our students,” he said. “We believe that this concept is the cornerstone of student success. We strive to ensure that the experience that each student receives is positive and productive.”

In addition to an overall increase, Colquitt County Schools saw an increase in each major subgroup that the Department of Education measures:

• Black students’ graduation rate rose from 81.07 percent in 2018 to 87.06 percent in 2019.

• Hispanic students’ graduation rate rose from 74.29 to 84.62.

• White students’ graduation rate rose from 81.02 to 84.92.

• English learners’ graduation rate rose from 62.75 to 75.41.

• Students with disabilities graduation rate rose from 61.33 to 63.10.

Superintendent Doug Howell shared, “The district’s efforts to support all students from pre-k to graduation is evident by the growth in graduation rates in all sub-groups monitored by the Georgia Department of Education.  This does not happen by accident; it is a purposeful decision to put the individual needs of students at the forefront of all actions. Educating students through positive relationships builds successful futures for all.”

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