Tennessee graduation rates on the rise

Hamilton County, Bradley County Schools reflect on growing graduate numbers

NASHVILLE (WDEF) — The Tennessee Department of Education released the graduation rate data for the last school year yesterday and the numbers are climbing.

Statewide, 89.8% of high school students graduated on time and 78 districts’ graduation rates improved from last year.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn says the graduation rate numbers have returned to pre-pandemic levels which show, quote, “that strong partnerships and the right investments will result in improved outcomes” for state students.

In Bradley County Schools, the graduation rate advanced to a staggering 96.6% of its students.

But Supervisor Denny Collins says they won’t stop until they reach 100%.

“Any time you set new goals, you have to have new standards, new performance indicators,” Collins said. “That’s something we’re working through now because 96.6 is good, but there are still a few kids that did not graduate. We want to do everything we can for those families to provide [the] opportunity that a diploma can provide.

Hamilton County Schools’ Shannon Moody says their current goal is to rise to a 90% graduation rate, but significant progress has already, additionally, been seen.

“Last year when we looked at our graduation rate, it was at 85.5% and this year it’s at 88.7%,” Moody said. “We were really happy to see that that went up in almost all of our subgroups. Our economically disadvantaged students increased by almost seven percentage points from where they were last year.”

Both school systems believe their graduation numbers will continue to rise and are excited to keep their students prepared for their next steps after high school.

“Coming out of COVID, your schools are adjusting back to a more traditional setting,” Collins said. “Kids are back in classrooms, we’re thankful for that, obviously. So hopefully those numbers continue to trek.”

Categories: Bradley County, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News