The D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) recently released data that showed a 4 percent increase in public high school graduation rates for the 2014-15 school year, the most recent data available. The report assesses graduation rates from both The District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) and Public Charter School (PCS) systems.

According to the OSSE, the graduation rate for DCPS rose 6.1 percentage points to 64.4 percent; the graduation rate for public charter schools rose 2.8 percentage points to 71.7 percent. Overall, 65.4 percent or 3,210 of 4,912 public school students in the D.C. graduated high school in 2015, four years after entering the ninth grade. The numbers are also listed with the district’s overall graduation rate (65.4 percent) and the rate of district programs (22.2 percent).

Banneker High School requires all freshman to attend a five-week bridge program – Banneker Summer Institute — designed to strengthen their academic skills. (Photo Credit District of Columbia Public Schools)

“The 4 percentage-point increase in the statewide graduation rate, based on increases in both DCPS and public charter schools, mean more students are succeeding in high school and graduating on time,” said State Superintendent Hanseul Kang in a release.

The top performing schools in the District include DCPS Benjamin Banneker High School with 94 graduates (100 percent) andMcKinley Technology High School with 139 graduates (96.5 percent). Following close behind were Friendship PCS Technology Preparatory followed with 29 graduates (90.6 percent) and Friendship PCS Collegiate Academy with 182 graduates (87.9 percent).

“We make sure that our students understand that they are here for four years and after four years they go on to college,” Janice Hylton, assistant principle for Banneker, told the AFRO Oct. 21. “It’s really just a family, a family working together.”

She said that the school instills a successful mindset in the students by requiring all admitted 9th graders to attend a summer session and by facilitating students with the tools they need to do well, such as providing them with student mentors; a laptop to use during the school year, if they do not have one; lunch money or a quiet place to do their homework and study. “Everyone here, from the administrators to teachers to custodial staff, cafeteria workers, parents and students; we are all working as one for the success of the child,” Hylton said.

According to the data, 1159 (69.9 percent) female DCPS students compared to 1064 (59.2 percent) male students graduated. Five Hundred and seventy (79.5 percent) female students compared to 391 (62.7 percent) male students are recorded as having graduated from PCS.

The data also shows that 1656 (61.7 percent) Blacks, 299 (66 percent) Latinos, more than 25 (85.6 percent) Whites, more than 25 (81.7 percent) Asians and more than 25 (78.9 percent) multi-ethnic students graduated from DCPS. The data shows that 867 (72.4 percent) Blacks and 79 (66.9 percent) of Latinos graduated from PCS. Numbers were too low to aggregate data on Whites, Asians and multi-ethnic charter school students.

“Graduating from high school with a high-quality education is an important step on the pathway to the middle class for our young people. While the District has made progress in recent years, we need to plow ahead and continue to improve our schools to ensure that all of our students have the knowledge they need to succeed in school and in the workforce,” Bowser said.

For more information about public school graduation rates in the District, visit the OSSE website at osse.dc.gov/.