Newark’s High School Graduation Rate Increases Four Percentage Points in the 2015-16 School Year

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New Jersey Department of Education releases data that shows Newark’s graduation rate is up for the fourth consecutive year, complementing other recent data that shows significant learning progress being made by Newark students

Graduation Rates Charts
[Newark, NJ – January 17, 2017] The New Jersey Department of Education released data last week showing that Newark’s high school graduation rate increased to 73.5 percent in 2016, up four percentage points from 2015. This data also showed that this is the fourth consecutive year this rate has increased in Newark. Newark’s graduation rate is up nearly 15 percentage points since 2011.

News of the graduation rate increase follows PARCC results released by the Department in August showing that Newark students made significant gains in both Math and English Language Arts (ELA) across the district. ELA results in particular show that according to student growth percentile (SGP), Newark students outpaced their peers across the state for the first time in 2015-16.

“The outcomes we are seeing now are the result of the hard work this community has done over a number of years to significantly change Newark’s schools,” said Christopher D. Cerf, Superintendent of Newark Public Schools (NPS). “While increasing graduation rates are not the only relevant measure of progress, statistics show that students with a high school diploma are much more likely to lead a successful life. This progress, along with substantial increases in reading and math scores in recent years, makes it very clear that the arrow is pointed up here in Newark. Students have a much better chance at success after they leave our schools then they did just a few years ago.”

Newark high schools that stand out with greater than a 90 percent graduation rate include:

  • Arts High School (90.91 percent)
  • Science Park High School (97.42 percent)
  • Technology High School (96.85 percent)
  • University High School (96.12 percent)
  • Bard Early College High School (95.59 percent)

Schools that showed significant progress in the graduation rate from 2015 to 2016 include:

  • Barringer Academy of Arts and Humanities (increase of 24 percentage points)
  • Central High School (increase of 9 percentage points)
  • Bard Early College High School (increase of 9 percentage points)
  • Technology High School (increase of 5.5 percentage points)
  • Weequahic High School (increase of 5 percentage points)
  • East Side High School (increase of 4 percentage points)

“This improvement reflects thousands of hours of coordinated efforts by our hard working educators and school leaders to make sure that more students leave their schools with a diploma in hand,” noted Brad Haggerty, Chief Academic Officer at NPS. “While we still have a ways to go, you can not underestimate the difference a high school diploma makes in a young person’s life. When you examine these numbers, the important thing to understand is that this means that over the last few years hundreds more individuals here in Newark were eligible to continue their education in college, or were able to enter the workforce with a credential that nearly all employers view as essential.”

Recent PARCC data underscores that the district is making significant progress in the following areas: the percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations across the district was up 6.0 percentage points in ELA and 2.5 percentage points in Math; 48 of 57 schools are showing improvement in ELA, and 40 of 57 schools are showing improvement in Math; 3 NPS high schools and 5 NPS elementary schools beat the state average in either ELA or Math, or both. In addition, the district’s average SGP score in ELA moved above the 50th percentile in the 2015-16 school year, which shows that Newark students outperformed their peers across the state.

Earlier this year, Newark Public Schools announced key investments the district is making in their strategic plan to help educators and students build upon and accelerate progress. The combination of policy changes made in recent years, these academic commitments and the progress being made as a result have all been cited by the State Department of Education as integral factors to Newark regaining local control of district schools in the near future.


njcomNewark’s high schools see overall boost in graduation rates | “The city’s public schools saw an overall increase in the percent of graduating high schoolers — continuing a steady rise since 2011, according to numbers released by the state Department of Education Thursday. In Newark, 73.5 percent of traditional public school students graduated in four years, compared to 69.6 percent in 2015. Statewide, 90.1 percent of students graduated within four years, a slight bump up from the 89.7 percent graduation rate in 2015…’This progress, along with substantial increases in reading and math scores in recent years, makes it very clear that the arrow is pointed up here in Newark, and that students have a much better chance at success after they leave our schools then they did just a few years ago,’ said Christopher Cerf, Superintendent of Newark Public Schools… ‘While we still have a ways to go, you cannot underestimate the difference a high school diploma makes in a young person’s life,’ said Brad Haggerty, Chief Academic Officer for Newark schools.’When you examine these numbers, the important thing to understand is that this means that over the last few years hundreds more individuals here in Newark were eligible to continue their education in college, or were able to enter the workforce with a credential that nearly all employers view as essential,’ he said.” (NJ.com, 1/13/17)