The Newark City Schools' Class of 2018’s graduation rate reached 88.2 percent — the district’s highest graduation rate on-record, and nearly a 20 percent increase compared to 2008.
“This increase means that more of our students are ready for life after high school, and it’s also an important indicator that the things we focus on are working,” Superintendent Doug Ute said.
Historically, the NCS graduation rate has been in the low- to mid-70 percent range. In the past five years, the district’s graduation rate has risen every year, from 81.2 percent in 2014 to 88.2 percent in 2018.
There are many factors to the graduation rate increase, including expanded educational opportunities year-round for students, and professional development opportunities for staff members.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programming reaches grades Pre-K through 12, with LEGO and Robotics teams competing from elementary through high school. Newark High School offers more than 50 clubs and activities, alongside 144 course offerings and 13 AP classes. Every summer, our buildings host STEM, coding, foreign language and sport camps, as well as a Kindergarten Readiness Academy to help our youngest students get connected.
Another area of focus across the district continues to be social and emotional needs. Students learn best if they feel safe and are able to make connections with adults who care about them. Students’ lives outside of school often play a factor into their chances to graduate, Ute said.
“I firmly believe that the reason many students fail to graduate isn’t because they aren’t smart enough,” he said. “Many students don’t graduate because of unmet social and emotional needs.”
The Newark City School District partners with dozens of community organizations and businesses to help meet these needs through providing food, transportation, school supplies, clothes and whatever else a student might need to feel comfortable at school.
The graduation rate is part of the 2019 state report card. The Ohio Department of Education typically releases the state report card near mid-September.
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