MCPS’ graduation rate is 83.1 percent, highest among the nation’s 50 largest districts, according to Diplomas Count 2010, a report put out by Education Week. Fairfax County, Va. was second at 82.5 percent. MCPS’ graduation rate rose 2.4 percentage points from last year’s report, when the district was tied for first with the Cypress-Fairbanks district in Texas.
“The commitment to education shown by our staff, our parents and our community continues to pay dividends for our students,” said Board of Education President Patricia O’Neill. “We are proud that more of our students than ever are graduating on-time with the skills they need for college and the work place.”
The MCPS graduation rate of 83.1 percent is significantly higher than the rate for the state of Maryland (73.7 percent) and the nation (68.8 percent). It is also the highest rate MCPS has ever had in the five years that Education Week has been publishing the report.
Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast said the growth in the graduation rate has come as MCPS has seen dramatic changes in its student population, including increases in the number of students living in poverty and those who need language assistance.
"The staff and students of MCPS are showing the nation that race, ethnicity and family income do not have to be predictors of academic success,” Dr. Weast said. “We have high expectations for all of our students and they are living up to those high expectations every day.”
The Diplomas Count 2010 report is the latest indicator that MCPS is successfully graduating its students ready for college and the work place. Participation and success in Advanced Placement classes—a strong predictor of college readiness—is at an all-time high, and it is expected that the class of 2010 will have the highest SAT scores in MCPS history. Additionally, this year’s graduates have already qualified for $232 million in college scholarships, an increase of almost $50 million from last year.
MCPS is one of five finalists for the $1 million Broad Prize for Urban Education, the largest education prize in the country. The prize recognizes large school districts that demonstrate high academic achievement and success in closing the achievement gap. The winning district will be announced in October.