The four-year graduation rates for students at Chelsea High School increased to 96 percent, up 4 percent from the 2011 rate of 92.7 percent, according to data released Wednesday by the Michigan Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI).
Chelsea graduated 211 students last year in its four-year cohort, and outpaced the statewide graduation average by more than 18 percent, according to the report.
Students are divided into "cohorts"—a combination of students who began ninth grade in the district four years prior, and including students who transferred in or our within the four year period. So for 2012 graduates, the cohort includes students who began high school in Chelsea in 2008, or transferred into the district before 2012 graduation.
The state also tracks students who were off track for four-year graduation but continuing their education, those who graduated or dropped out past the four-year mark, and those who completed their GED or reached the maximum special education age.
Across Michigan, four-year graduation rates for students expected to graduate last spring increased to 76.24 percent, up 1.9 percent from the 2011 rate of 74.33.
“These numbers reflect the highest rates we have seen since we started reporting the data using a cohort methodology,” said CEPI director Thomas Howell. “This methodology allows us to track individual students from the first time they enroll as ninth-graders and has resulted in a more accurate measure of high school success for our students.”
More than 53 percent of Michigan’s school districts saw higher graduation rates. The largest increase in graduation rates throughout a five-year period were seen in several racial and ethnic groups. According to the report, rates for black students reached 59.93 percent last year, an increase of 3.64 percent since 2008. Hispanic student rates were at 64.3 percent, up 3.97 percent. This year’s rate reflects that 73.52 percent of multiracial students graduated in four years, increasing the annual rate by 3.52 percent since 2008.
“This is more positive news for Michigan public schools,” said state superintendent Mike Flanagan. “This is reflective of how our teachers and students are succeeding with the rigorous Michigan Merit Curriculum and being better prepared to continue Michigan’s economic comeback. We must stay on this positive course and keep our standards high and Michigan Merit Curriculum intact.”
Chelsea High School Principal Mike Kapolka said Chelsea's high graduation rate can be credited to the district's numerous programs targeted to at-risk students.
"For these students, we have several academic and social interventions in place to better support them through their four-year experience at Chelsea High School," he said. "With the balance of interventions for our at-risk population as well as our extensive Advanced Placement course offerings and elective options for all of our students, I believe we are able to effectively meet our students academic needs at CHS, which in turn has assisted in our high graduation rate for the 2011-2012 four-year cohort."
For more information about Chelsea student enrollment, including students who stayed in school longer to earn a diploma in five or six years, visit www.mischooldata.org.
Chelsea High School Four-Year CohortYear Cohort Graduated Graduation Rate 2007-08 241 220 91.29% 2008-09 240 229 95.41% 2009-10 225 214 95.11% 2010-11 222 206 92.79% 2011-12 218 211 96.78%