The Rhode Island Dept. of Education released data on 2014 graduation rates last Friday, and Portsmouth High School came at 97%, tied with Classical High School in Providence for highest in the state, sixteen points above the statewide average.
According to a press release from RIDE, the 2014 Rhode Island graduation rate rose to 81%, a 1-point improvement over the previous year and a 5.5-point improvement since 2009. The dropout rate declined to 8%, a 1-point improvement over the previous year and a 6-point improvement since 2009.
“Our high-school students, teachers, and leaders deserve high marks for their tremendous efforts in raising our graduation rate,” said Governor Gina Raimondo in remarks distributed by RIDE. “As we make creating opportunities for all Rhode Islanders a priority, we must continue this momentum to make sure our kids build the skills they need to compete in a 21st-century economy. Earning a high-school diploma is one important component to making our state stronger for everyone.”
In a note sent to PHS parents this afternoon, PHS principal Bob Littlefield said,
"We are extremely proud of this success because it is recognition of a great deal of hard work on the part of our students, teachers, and families. And this came for the Class of 2014 -- the class that not only had to pass all its courses and complete Senior Project but was required to demonstrate proficiency in reading and math on NECAP tests.
A great deal of credit goes to our counseling staff who refuses to give up on students and is relentless in getting students together with teachers in order to make positive progress toward graduation requirements.
I also want to recognize our teaching staff for their eternal optimism about individual student success. We don't give up on students and we don't allow them to give up on themselves.
Several high schools attained 4-year graduation rates of 95 percent or higher in 2014, including the Block Island School, Classical High School (Providence), Cranston High School West, and East Greenwich High School in addition to PHS.
Several high schools improved their 4-year graduation by more than 5 percentage points over the past year, including East Providence High School, the New England Laborers’/Cranston Public Schools Construction & Career Academy, Tiverton High School, Toll Gate High School (Warwick), West Warwick Senior High School, and William E. Tolman Senior High School (Pawtucket).
National information on the 2014 graduation rates is not yet available. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education released data on the 2013 graduation rates. Rhode Island, with a 2013 graduation rate of 80 percent, was 1 point below the national average and tied for 29th among all states. The Rhode Island graduation rate improved by 3 percentage points over the two-year span of the report, better than the 2-point improvement for the country as a whole.
A report on the 2014 Rhode Island graduation and dropout rates is posted on the RIDE website, at: http://www.ride.ri.gov/InformationAccountability/Accountability.aspx
Editorial note: Written from press release and e-mail material.