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Cumberland County schools improved its graduation rate last spring, with 92.42% of students completing high school. That’s up from the county-wide rate of 91.5% in 2019.

“I am encouraged to see that as a district we improved one percentage point,” Director of Schools Ina Maxwell told the Chronicle. “It is a team effort that has led to this continued improvement.”

Statewide, the 2020 graduate rate was 89.6%.

The graduation rate includes all students who complete graduation requirements in four school years and one summer. 

Cumberland County High School reported a graduation rate of 93.64% with Stone Memorial High School reporting 93.72%. The Phoenix School, which offers an alternative path to graduation for students at risk of not graduating on time, reported 82.7% of its students graduated. Students there take a core curriculum that does not include foreign language and some electives. 

The data also looks at graduation rates among various subgroups of students, including economically disadvantaged students, with an 86.01% graduation rate; special education students with a 77.63% graduation rate; and English Language Learners, with a 54.55% graduation rate. Career and Technical Education students had 97.2% of students graduate on time.

This new data isn’t reflected in the most recent state report card, released by the Tennessee Department of Education, which uses data from the class of 2019 for graduation rate and ready graduate information. 

Information on “Ready Graduates” for last year is not yet available. The state just released that information for the class of 2019 as part of the state report card. 

Students are considered “Ready Graduates” if they score a 21 or higher composite score on the ACT. Other indicators for post-high school career and college readiness include completing early post-secondary courses, such as dual credit or dual enrollment classes, earn an industry certification or scoring 31 or higher on the ASVAB exam. Students must complete four post-secondary classes or two post-secondary classes and an industry certification or the required ASVAB score.

The state reported an overall 40.7% of Tennessee’s high school graduates were considered Ready Graduates.

The state began reporting this data in 2018. Cumberland County reported 43.6% Ready Graduates in 2019 and 37.8% in 2018.

Cumberland County students also scored an average of 20.2 on the ACT.

This was the extent of new information available on the report card. Academic achievement and growth data is measured with annual state assessments, which were not administered last spring during the school shutdown. 

The Tennessee Department of Education will be adding prior years’ academic data in the fall. 

“While we know the coronavirus has limited the data available to highlight on this year’s report, we hope this data will be useful for Tennessee families, educators, community members, and public officials with information about schools and districts as they work to provide a high-quality education for all our students,” said Commissioner Penny SchwinnThe department is excited to unveil exciting new improvements and features included in this year’s State Report Card, which will enhance the user experience and make this tool more accessible for years to come.” 

Heather Mullinix is editor of the Crossville Chronicle. She covers schools and education in Cumberland County. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.