MPS sees growth in graduation rates

MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee Public Schools saw growth in graduation rates from 2009-10 to 2010-11 according to data released by the state Thursday, continuing a trend that has resulted in growth of approximately 17 percentage points since 1999-2000.

MPS’ growth between 2009-10 and 2010-11 outpaced the state average in both graduation rates calculated by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction:
the traditional or legacy rate and the new four-year cohort rate.

The district’s legacy graduation rate now stands at approximately 69% for 2010-11, up 1.9 percentage points from 67% in 2009-10 and up 17 percentage points from 52% in 1999-2000. The state legacy rate grew by 1.1 percentage points between 2009-10 and 2010-11.

2011 graduation photo

Under the new four-year cohort statistic all states are now required to use, students who take more than four years to graduate cannot be counted as graduates at all. Using that more strict definition, MPS showed a 1.7 percentage-point increase to stand at approximately 63% in 2010-11, up from 61% in 2009-10. The state four-year cohort rate grew by 1.3 percentage points between 2009-10 and 2010-11.

“We have much more work to do, but these numbers — along with ACT score growth and growth in 10th grade state test scores — show that we continue to move in the right direction,” Superintendent Gregory Thornton said. “We’re putting our comprehensive literacy and math/science plans to work. We have put the compelling curriculum in place that encourages students to think critically. We’ve increased supports for teachers and classrooms. And we are building up our college-going culture thanks a multitude of efforts including our GEAR UP grant, College Access Center and the high school reform plans in the 2012-13 budget proposal.”

Plans include adding high school grades to the popular MacDowell Montessori school, preparing for high school grades at Golda Meir School and a proposal to bring the College Board’s SpringBoard pre-college program into a group of middle and high schools.