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UCPS first in state among large systems for its graduation rate

State superintendent Dr. June Atkinson, at left, recognizes UCPS for having the highest graduation rate among large school systems in North Carolina. Pictured, from left, are Atkinson, Director of Student Services and Testing Carolyn White, Director of Secondary Education Dr. Wanda Little, Union County Early College Principal Jane Wade, Central Academy of Technology and Arts Principal Kim Fisenne, Marvin Ridge High School Principal Tim Conner and Weddington High School Principal Jonathan Bowers.

Union County Public Schools was recognized recently for having the highest graduation rate of the state’s largest school districts, an award presented by State Superintendent for Public Instruction Dr. June Atkinson.

UCPS was one of 10 North Carolina school districts honored by Dr. Atkinson for having the highest four-year cohort graduation rates among all districts in the state in 2012-13. She also recognized 46 high schools, four from Union County, for the same honor.

UCPS was first in the state for having the highest graduation rate for large school systems (those with greater than 2,000 students).

“Being recognized for having the highest graduation rate in the state for large school systems and for being among the Top Ten School Districts regardless of size is quite an honor. It is a testament to the hard work of our students, teachers, and administrators,” said UCPS Superintendent Dr. Mary Ellis. “However, the awards do not mean anything to a parent whose child did not graduate. We will not rest and our commitment will not waver until every child in our school system earns a high school diploma.”

Union County Early College was recognized for having 100 percent of its students graduate. It was one of 36 other high schools in North Carolina to be named in the 100 Percent Club.

Marvin Ridge High School took first in the state for having the highest graduation rate in its cohort (schools with 300 to 399 students in the senior class). Its 2013 graduation rate was 99.7 percent.

Central Academy of Technology and Arts (CATA) was first in the state in the 200 to 299 students senior cohort, with a graduation rate of 99 percent. Coming in second in that same cohort was Weddington High School for having 98.6 percent of its students graduate.

This is the seventh straight year that the UCPS graduation rate has improved. In 2007, the system’s graduation rate was 77.3 percent. This’ year rate of 90.83 is an increase of 13.53 percent.

On a state level, Atkinson said the state’s graduation rate (82.5 percent) continues to increase, in spite of students and teachers transitioning to new state standards and assessments that have caused many schools to face significant financial challenges.

“This outstanding accomplishment is a testament to the high quality teachers and school leaders we are fortunate to have in our schools,” Atkinson said. “I commend principals and teachers in these schools for their resilience, enthusiasm and their commitment to preparing all students for success in the future.”

During a recent visit, Atkinson addressed teachers system wide with words of encouragement.

"I want to be among the first to congratulate Union County Public Schools for having an over 90 percent graduation rate,” she said. “That graduation rate represents the hard work of the students who had great teachers in Pre School all the way through high school. Even though we’re having difficult times in public education, I encourage you to continue to give your very best to your students, as you have done in the past.”

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Oct 24, 2013 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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