MACON, Georgia (KBTV)- The Bibb County School District’s high school graduation rate has surpassed 80 percent for the first time in at least a decade.
The District’s overall graduation rate for 2021 was 80.67 percent. This is up from an overall District graduation rate of 51.30 percent in 2011. All six high schools showed growth in the graduation rate from 2020 to 2021, and both Central and Howard High Schools achieved a graduation rate of 85 percent for 2021 – a new high for District schools.
Superintendent Dr. Curtis Jones says, “Bibb County, like the rest of the state and nation, has really been thrown for a loop because of COVID-19. One of the goals we set early was to get to a graduation rate of 90 percent by the year 2025, and COVID-19 helped kick us off that path. This year, I am thrilled we are back on path. Our graduation rate is above 80 percent for the first time. Four of our six high schools have graduation rates above 80 percent as well, and the other two schools had fantastic gains from last year to this year. I am thrilled, I am excited, and it shows the hard work students, teachers and staff have put in place to make education better in Bibb County. Congratulations to all.”
Upon joining the District in 2015, Dr. Jones set a goal for the District to achieve a 90 percent graduation rate by the year 2025. The District also had a goal of reaching an 80 percent graduation rate by 2020. The District had shown a steady increase in graduation rate since 2011 and was on track to hit 80 percent by 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, impacting student attendance as well as schools’ abilities to directly engage with students and parents to keep students on track.
The bounce back in the graduation rate in 2021 is a testament to the hard work put in by teachers and staff to engage students during a difficult year for education nationwide. Throughout 2020-21, Bibb students participated in virtual learning for various lengths of time due to substantial or high spread of COVID-19 in the Macon-Bibb community. Teachers and staff spent a month at the beginning of the school year revising and developing new frameworks and methods for engaging with students virtually. The District’s implementation of one-to-one technology for students, community support for expanded internet access, and a concerted effort by schools to increase parental involvement and community engagement to create a complete support network for students all played a role in creating an atmosphere where everyone is committed to seeing students graduate on time.
“We are truly ‘ALL IN’ with academics, arts, athletics and leadership, working for what is best for all students, present and former. In an effort to increase our graduation rate, we partnered with our community for extra support. Our teachers and staff were in constant contact with student and parents – from personal phone calls, home visits, job visits, and daily check-ins – to ensure the success of our 2021 cohort,” Howard High School Principal Dr. LaToya Smith says.