Earlier this month Joe Natham of Education News reported that schools in Cincinnati Public Schools have significantly raised their graduation rates. In fact, according to Elizabeth Holtzapple, Cincinnati Public Schools Director of Research, Evaluation and Testing, “…the district’s public schools increased overall high school graduation rates to a bit over 81% in 2010. That’s up from 51% [in] 2000. She also reported the district also has eliminated the graduation gap between white and African American students.” CPS made these gains despite more stringent graduation requirements in the years between 2000 and 2007, including statewide standardized testing across multiple areas of study.
This is great news. In looking at the broader picture, Natham points to several important strategies, including:
- Focusing on just a few goals (increasing overall graduation rates and reducing the high school graduation gap)
- Focusing staff development on a few key areas, including literacy, numeracy and ways to work effectively with urban students
- Partnerships between schools, businesses and community groups focused on project goals
- Creating small schools or small learning communities in large buildings
Hats off to all students, teachers, parents, administrators and supporters that contributed to the amazing success of the Cincinnati school system in the last decade. They are to be commended for all of their hard work.