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BPS graduation rate at historic high

BOSTON – January 21, 2016 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh joined Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Tommy Chang in announcing that the district’s graduation rate for the class of 2015 achieved an historic increase, rising four percentage points from the previous year to reach an all-time high of 70.7 percent.
“I am tremendously proud of the hard work by our students, teachers and administrators to raise our graduation rate to new heights,” said Mayor Walsh. “I am confident that when students receive a BPS diploma they will be well-equipped with the skills and knowledge for their next steps in college, career and life. I look forward to continuing to build on our progress to raise the graduation rate for students and create across-the-board excellence in our public school system.”
The overall four-year graduation rate for the BPS class of 2015 stands at 70.7 percent, representing a 4 percentage-point gain from the 2014 rate of 66.7 percent and continuing an upward trend since 2006, when the figure was just over 59 percent, according to new data released today by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
The DESE data also shows that over the past ten years BPS has shrunk the graduation-rate gap between white and black students by nearly two-thirds, and reduced by half the gap between white and Latino students.
Meanwhile, the four-year cohort graduation rate for black students has risen over the past decade by more than 13 percentage points, climbing from 55.7 percent in 2006 to 69.6 percent in 2015. Latino students also saw an accelerated improvement of more than 13 percentage points, increasing from 50.6 percent in 2006 to 64.3 percent in 2015. Over that same time period, the four-year cohort graduation rate for white students improved by 5 percentage points, increasing from 70.6 percent in 2006 to 75.8 percent in 2015.
School Committee Chairperson Michael O'Neill credited BPS initiatives, such as the renewed focus and investment in early intervention with 8th and 9th-graders; increased use of technology in the classroom; and a broader scope of options for students to access evening, summer, and online educational programs, with helping achieve these successes.
"These results come from an intense, multi-year effort on behalf of the District, our teachers and school leaders, and many of our external partners," said O'Neill, who helped spearhead the creation of the Opportunity and Achievement Gap Task Force. "They also include an understanding and commitment on our part that we only truly succeed when our youth are prepared to then go on to their careers and/or to successfully graduate from college."
Superintendent Chang praised the ongoing collaborative work between BPS and partner organizations for keeping our students engaged and ready to embark on college and careers.
"Our recent creation of a high school office within BPS seeks to not only leverage our high school redesign work but also redouble our efforts to completely close our opportunity and achievement gaps," Dr. Chang said. "Ensuring that our students graduate within four years is a critical priority of BPS. But we cannot stop there. We must continue to improve the rigor of our classroom instruction so that all of our students have access to high-quality education. We must also continue to expand our support systems to better serve all students who need additional time to complete their secondary education."
The district also showed impressive gains for students with disabilities (SWD). Since 2006, the four-year graduation rates for SWD students rose by almost 15 points, to 51.5 percent, with much of that gain – 10 percentage points – occurring since 2014. Similarly, for male students, who typically graduate at lower rates overall than their female counterparts, graduation rates climbed to 66 percent, marking an almost an 14 percentage point gain over the past decade and a 6 percentage point increase over the past year.
Among BPS high schools, the Jeremiah E. Burke – the first high school in Massachusetts to exit turnaround status – achieved significant improvements in its graduation rate, rising by 27.6 percentage points in the last 10 years, from 43.5 percent to 71.7 percent, and 10 percent percentage points since 2014.
Eight Boston high schools achieved graduation rates of 85 percent or above, meeting the state's accountability target. They include: Boston Latin School; New Mission High School; John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science; Boston Latin Academy; Another Course to College; Fenway High School; Boston Community Leadership Academy; and Quincy Upper School.
Another Course to College, Boston Community Leadership Academy, Burke High School, and New Mission High School also stand out for making some of the district's largest one-year and ten-year graduation gains.

BPS Drop-Out Rates

Over the past year, Boston's four-year cohort dropout rate fell from 18.5 percent in 2014 to 15.4 percent in 2015. In addition, BPS's annual dropout rate for students in grades 9-12 remained relatively steady in 2014-15 (4.4%). More detailed and school-level information here.