2012 graduation rates a mixed bag: Some Washtenaw County schools improve; others see more dropouts
Joe Sharp | For AnnArbor.com
But in Washtenaw County, data was not as conclusive. Most districts saw their graduation rates improve from 2011. However, some on the east side of the county declined or stayed the same. And dropout rates at a few of the county's public school districts also worsened.
CEPI reported the statewide four-year, or "on time," graduation rate for the class of 2012 was 76.24 percent, up from 74.33 percent for the class of 2011.
The state dropout rate for 2012 was reported at 10.71 percent, according to the CEPI data released Wednesday. In 2011, Michigan had a dropout rate of 11.13 percent.
The improvement is worth noting in part because of the tougher graduation requirements that went into effect for the class of 2011. Those students were the first required to take more math and science to receive their high school diplomas.
Ann Arbor Public Schools improved its dropout rate from 2011, which was 7.26 percent. But its 2012 rate of 4.16 percent is about equal to the district's class of 2010 dropout rate, 4.17 percent.
Ann Arbor's districtwide graduation rate increased from 83.57 percent in 2011 to 87.44 percent in 2012.
Community High School consistently has the best graduation rate of Ann Arbor Public Schools' secondary buildings. In 2012, 97.35 percent of its seniors graduated, with 1.77 percent dropping out.
Pioneer and Skyline high schools are close behind with graduation/dropout rates of 95.26/1.58 percent and 94.44/1.59 percent, respectively.
This is the first graduation data available for Skyline High School, which opened its doors in 2008 and had its first class of seniors in 2012.
Huron High School had 88.7 percent of its seniors graduate, with 3.19 percent dropping out.
The only Ann Arbor public high school to see its graduation rate drop from 2011 to 2012 was Ann Arbor Technological High School, one of AAPS' two alternative programs. Last year, 16.28 percent of its seniors graduated on time, compared to 21.57 percent of seniors the year before.
However, in 2011, 25.49 percent of its seniors dropped out of high school, compared to 11.63 percent in 2012. A2 Tech retained more of its students last year as "off-track continuing," which means they're still in school but didn't have the credits to graduate in four years. Less than 10 seniors were reported as dropouts in 2012, whereas 13 kids dropped out the year before.
Ann Arbor's second alternative high school program, the Roberto Clemente Student Development Center, saw its graduation rates increase from 75 percent to 88.24 percent, not far behind Huron. Its dropout rate fell from 20 percent to 11.76 percent.
Saline Area Schools has the best dropout rate in Washtenaw County. Less than 1 percent of its students didn't graduate, while 96.43 percent did graduate in 2012.
Willow Run Community Schools had the lowest 2012 graduation rate in the county, 41.43 percent. This is down almost 5 percent from 2011. The district's dropout rate also increased from 20.14 percent to 24.29 percent.
Ypsilanti Public Schools' dropout rate increased slightly from 2011 to 2012 — 15.43 percent to about 17 percent. It also had fewer students listed as off-track continuing for 2012.
About 63 percent of Ypsilanti's seniors graduated last year, compared to 57.45 percent the year before. However, Ypsilanti also had a smaller graduating class in 2012, with approximately 64 fewer students.
In a report to the Board of Education in October, Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Martin explained that Ypsilanti was disputing its 2012 graduation rates as reported by the state. Martin said then that Ypsilanti often graduates students in five years through programs such as Washtenaw International High School (WiHi), Widening Advancement for Youth (WAY), Early College Alliance (ECA), dual enrollment, Forest School and New Tech at Ardis. Some of these programs, WAY and ECA in particular, were not designed to be four-year high-school experiences, Martin said.
Dexter Community Schools' dropout rate also increased, from 3.57 percent in 2011 to 5.63 percent last year. Its graduate rate improved, however, from 89.64 percent to 92.5 percent.
Chelsea School District's graduation rate declined while its dropout rate increased. More than 90 percent of the district's seniors in 2011 graduated, compared to 84.8 percent of seniors in 2012. The dropout rate jumped about 1.2 percent, with 5.2 percent of the class of 2012 not finishing school.
At Lincoln schools, the district's graduation rate stayed about same, at just more than 70 percent. The district improved its dropout rate from 13.55 percent to 8.7 percent.
At Manchester Community Schools, the opposite occurred. The district's dropout rate was consistent, at just greater than 2 percent, while its graduation rate increased, from 87.96 percent to 91.11 percent.
Milan Area Schools saw improvement in both its graduation and dropout rates. Its dropout rate fell from 11.81 percent in 2011 to 6.74 percent in 2012. The district's graduation rate increased from 76.01 percent to 80.15 percent.
Whitmore Lake Public Schools' graduation rate hovered at about 87 percent in both 2011 and 2012. Its dropout rate declined from 6.19 percent to 4 percent.