Rutherford County Schools has once again posted a graduation rate of more than 95%, according to data released today by the Tennessee Department of Education.
Only 43 districts — which is about one-fourth of the districts in the state — have graduation rates at or above 95 percent, up from 36 districts last year, state education officials said. Rutherford County’s graduation rate is up to 95.3 percent from last year’s rate of 95.2 percent.
The statewide graduation rate average is 89.1, according to the Department of Education’s figures.
“Our high schools should be commended for once again posting gains on the graduation rate and being among the upper tier in Tennessee,” Director of Schools Don Odom said. “In addition, we’re making really good progress within our subgroups of students on their graduation rate, and those performance indicators are significant to how well our high schools are doing.”
Two Rutherford County high schools — Central Magnet School and Eagleville School — recorded a graduation rate of 100 percent.
“The county’s commitment to providing graduation coaches to all the high schools, that is a big help to us,” Eagleville principal Bill Tollett said. “Our counselors also work hard to ensure all students know the value of earning a high school diploma and how doing so will affect their earning ability in the job market as opposed to being a dropout.”
Last year, Eagleville missed a perfect graduation rate by only one student, Tollett said.
Another key indicator this year is with students concentrated in Career and Technical Education pathways. CTE students posted a countywide average graduation rate of 98.83%.
Rutherford County CTE Coordinator Tyra Pilgrim takes those results personally and researched those few CTE students — approximately 13 — who did graduate on time, she said.
“We’ve hit 100 percent in some schools but not as a district yet,” Pilgrim said. “My goal is to have 100 percent all the down the list.”
Students in CTE pathways must concentrate on career-specific courses of three or more while in high school. By doing so, those students become attached to their education because they see the correlation between their education and their future job opportunities, Pilgrim explained.
“The CTE model is working because it hooks the student into a field or focus that they are interested in,” Pilgrim said, “and so they want to come to school because they’re going to see their CTE instructor and they’re going to learn through hands-on experience.”
Four Rutherford County high schools — Central, Eagleville, Siegel and Stewarts Creek — posted 100 percent graduation rates for CTE students for the 2016-2017 school year.
Rutherford County high school graduation rates
Blackman High School — 95.94%
Central Magnet School — 100%
Eagleville School — 100%
Holloway High School — 73.08%
LaVergne High School — 92.54%
Oakland High School — 93.99%
Riverdale High School — 95.85%
Siegel High School — 96.99%
Smyrna High School — 95.60%
Stewarts Creek High School — 97.37%