Unfortunately, the District’s overall 4-year high school graduation rate dropped slightly, from 71.5 percent in 2014 to 70.1 percent in 2015. But there is much more to learn from the data broken down by high school than from looking at the average.
In this light, here are three looks at the data:
Not surprisingly, the highest performers last year were six magnet schools: University High School of Science and Engineering with 97 percent, Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy with 96, Capital Preparatory Magnet School with 95, Sport and Medical Sciences Academy with 92, Classical Magnet School with 91, and Great Path Academy Middle College High School and Pathways Academy of Technology and Design, with 90 percent graduation rates.
What’s more interesting to us is that schools with the highest increases over last year were four neighborhood schools. And in the case of HPHS Academy of Engineering and Green Technology, the rate went up by 12 percent even with a much larger cohort of students needing to graduate in four years. Bulkeley’s cohort was 10 percent smaller than last year’s, but its rate actually went down by 1 percent – not a good sign for the largest high school in Hartford.
Comparing Hartford to similar-sized cities, we see that Hartford still trails New Haven but is ahead of Bridgeport and Waterbury.
It also is helpful to look at each school’s performance in 2015 against 2010 (or the first year the school had a graduating class), to understand how far they’ve come. It’s great to see Culinary Arts and HPHS Law and Government Academy having made so much progress, and it’s understandable that those magnet schools with rates already in the 90s haven’t changed all that much. Bulkeley will need to be a focus area if we are to reach our goal in Hartford.
Steep Climb. The District’s strategic operating plan has eight “equity indicators”, or measures of success. One, regarding the four-year cohort graduation rate (taking into account student progress from Ninth through 12th Grade), sets the goal that all Hartford high schools hit the 90 percent mark by 2020. The community at large is going to have to somehow play a much larger role alongside the District if we are going to reach our goal.