The graduation rate for Floyd County Schools was delayed last week when the report was issued by the state but the reward was worth the wait as the updated figure reported by the state today rose to over 93 percent. The updated rate eclipsed last year’s record rate for the system that topped 90 percent for the first time. The release on Monday morning put the graduation rate for Floyd County Schools at 93.1 percent for 2016 moving the system closer to “Destination Graduation for every child.” The graduation rate for Floyd County Schools is more than 13 percent higher than the state graduation rate of 79.2 percent.
"This is a day of celebration for a great team effort by students, parents, teachers, staff and the community,” said Chip Hood, chairman of the Floyd County Board of Education. "It is great that we can celebrate but we will quickly get back to work on the goal of every child in our schools reaching graduation day."
In addition to the system graduation rate topping 93 percent, three high schools in the system were also above 90 percent in the state report. Armuchee High had the highest graduation rate in the system at 95.8 percent, Coosa High was close behind with 94.4 percent, Model High saw a significant increase with a rate of 93.6 percent and Pepperell High School completed the trend of all county high school graduation rates with increases as Pepperell’s rose to 89.7 percent.
A little over three years ago, the system worked with teachers, parents and business leaders to identify improvement in the graduation rate as the top goal and mission for the school system. The community outlined five objectives to help reach the goal including building relationships with parents and the community, ensuring all children meet grade level standards,reducing the impact of retention on children, making school and courses relevant to children and providing pathways to graduation that work for everyone
"To see increases at this level requires everyone in the school system involved in the process to make this success possible," stated John Jackson, superintendent of Floyd County Schools. "We are certainly not resting on our laurels with this great news on the latest graduation rate as we have new pilots in place this year at the middle school level that will make a significant impact on graduation rates in the future."
A new pilot to address keeping middle school students on track to graduate was the focus of a recent presentation by Pepperell Middle School to the Floyd County Board of Education. Principal Becky McCoy brought students to the presentation to talk about their success in a transition grade level pilot called The Academy at Pepperell Middle School. The pilot allows struggling students to catch up on courses they are struggling with while at the same time earning high school credits. “When these students leave for high school next year they will have a firm grasp of classes from middle school they will need to be successful and they will have earned four high school credits,” stated McCoy.
The Academy addresses the impact of retention on children. “I am so glad I have an opportunity like this,” said Jose Muniz, a student at Pepperell Middle. “I went from making Fs to now making As and Bs in my classes and I thank Mrs. McCoy, Dr, Jackson and the board for this opportunity.” In the report to the board, McCoy informed the board members that none of the students were failing a class in the first nine weeks in this school year.
The addition of academic interventionist at the high school level has also made a significant impact on graduation numbers for the system. The funding from federal Title 1 was adjusted to focus some of the resources on system high schools and students at risk of dropping out of school. The position gave each school a caring adult to assist students at risk of not making it to graduation.
"Once you reach the 90 percent plateau, it is difficult to continue to have significant increases and that is why the newly released rate is so impressive," added Jackson. "Our system mission is 'Destination Graduation for every child' and our teachers, administrators, students, parents and community will continue to move forward with innovations to help each child reach the destination of graduation.