NEWS RELEASES 2010-11 :: OCTOBER 13, 2010


State Superintendent June Atkinson recognized 10 North Carolina school districts and 20 high schools for having the highest four-year cohort graduation rates in the state for the 2009-10 school year during a ceremony in Raleigh today. This is the third year that Atkinson has held the special awards ceremony to highlight the importance of high school graduation for all students and to congratulate districts and schools with high rates.

"More than report card grades, state test scores, or SAT results, the graduation rate reflects our ability to keep students engaged in school and learning so that they will earn a high school diploma," said State Superintendent Atkinson. "While I commend the 30 districts and schools we celebrate today for reaching rates of nearly 85 percent or higher, we must do more to ensure every student makes it to graduation day with the skills needed for success in the future."

Governor Bev Perdue also spoke at today's event. "When I visited Washington in August to make a pitch for NC receiving Race to the Top funding, I talked about the innovative spirit of North Carolina. These are the people and the schools I was talking about," Perdue said. "They embody the kind of thinking we need as we work toward a common goal of making sure every single student graduates high school ready for careers and college."

School districts and schools were recognized in three categories, described below. In each case, the rates referenced are for the four-year cohort graduation rates. This rate refers to the percentage of students who graduate from high school in four years or less. The rates are for the students who were identified as being in the graduating class of 2010.

Top Ten School Districts Graduation Rate
Dare County 90.5 percent
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools 89.0 percent
Newton-Conover City Schools 88.6 percent
Clay County Schools 86.5 percent
Elkin City Schools 86.5 percent
Alleghany County Schools 86.2 percent
Mooresville Graded School District 86.0 percent
Polk County Schools 86.0 percent
Mount Airy City Schools 85.0 percent
Pamlico County Schools 84.9 percent

100% Club for High School Graduation Rate Location
Caldwell Career Center Middle College Caldwell County
Cross Creek Early College High Cumberland County
Howard Health and Life Sciences High Cumberland County
Highland School of Technology Gaston County
Greensboro College Middle College Guilford County
Penn-Griffin School for the Arts Guilford County
The Early College at Guilford Guilford County
The Academy at Smith Guilford County
Weaver Academy for the Performing and Visual Arts and Advanced Technology Guilford County
Newton-Conover Health & Science High Newton-Conover City
Wayne Early Middle College High Wayne County

Top Two Schools by Cohort Rate
(Schools must have been open for four years to be honored.)
100-199 Students
Highland School of Technology Gaston County
Raleigh Charter High Wake County
200-299 Students
First Flight High Dare County
Northern Guilford High Guilford County
300-399 Students
Weddington High Union County
East Chapel Hill High Chapel Hill-Carrboro
400-499 Students
Lake Norman High Iredell-Statesville
Green Hope High Wake County
500+ Students
Northwest Guilford High Guilford County
Panther Creek High Wake County

North Carolina's statewide four-year cohort graduation rate for 2009-10 is 74.2 percent. This rate has improved each year since 2006 when North Carolina reported its first measurement of a cohort graduation rate and is up from 2008-09 when it was 71.8 percent. While the statewide rate has continued to increase, the average graduation rates among males and students who are Native American, black, Hispanic, economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient or those with disabilities are still lower than the statewide average.

Atkinson said continued investment in early childhood education, efforts to extend learning beyond the school year, focused attention on student absences in middle school, development of Ninth Grade Academies, redesign of high schools into early college or career cluster models, implementation of a new statewide school accountability model and parent and community engagement in schools are all proven strategies to keep students from dropping out.

"The loss of human talent and potential and the cost of high school drop outs to our society are far too great for us to not direct substantial time, energy and resources to working together to address and solve this crisis," Atkinson said.

To view all district and school graduation rates, visit For more information about today's event, please contact the NC Department of Public Instruction's Communication division at 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.