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Per Newton County School System’s request, Newton High School’s 2013 four-year graduation rate has been modified by the Georgia Department of Education. As a result, the district’s four-year graduation rate has also been adjusted. Both Newton High School and the district now post graduation rates that exceed the state average. When scores were officially released last month, Newton High School’s rate was below the state while the district’s matched the state average.

At the time of the official release date, Newton High School’s rate had dropped 16 points from its 2012 graduation rate. Upon reviewing the data, it was determined that Newton High School personnel had been unable to verify all of the recorded reasons for student withdrawal.  As students withdraw, school staff must verify their enrollment in a receiving school in order to not count the student as a “drop-out.”  This is exactly what occurred at Newton High—many students relocated and their withdrawal reasons could not be verified. As a result, they were counted as “drop-outs.”

Personnel quickly began looking for information on students who transferred and upon the district’s request, the Georgia Department of Education opened the window for a brief time for the school to update data. As a result, five additional points were added to Newton High School’s 2013 four-year graduation rate. The school’s new, adjusted graduation rate is 72%, which exceeds the state average. As a result of the change in Newton High School’s graduation rate, Newton County School System’s four-year graduation rate jumped from 71%, which equaled the state’s average, to 73%, two points above the state average. As such, all three high schools and the district surpassed the state average on the 2013 four-year graduation rate.

The four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate defines the cohort based on when a student first becomes a freshman. The rate is calculated using the number of students who graduate within four years and includes adjustments for student transfers. In contrast, Georgia’s former graduation rate calculation defined the cohort upon graduation, which may have included students who took more than four years to graduate from high school.

“While Newton High School’s adjusted graduation rate does demonstrate an improvement from the reported 67%, we are confident that Newton’s graduation rate would increase further if all of the paperwork had been correctly catalogued and entered into the database,” said Samantha Fuhrey, Newton County School Superintendent.  “The state’s opening of the portal provided Newton High School staff with the opportunity to verify additional records that were not previously verified.  We have carefully reviewed our processes and procedures to ensure we will not experience this issue in the future.”

For more information contact Ms. Shannon Buff, Director of Secondary Schools for Newton County School System, at