BALTIMORE (WJZ) — State school leaders have a new way to track Maryland’s graduation rate among high schoolers.

Gigi Barnett explains new numbers released this week show the number of students receiving diplomas is up.

From the first day of ninth grade until graduation day, school leaders are tracking students. It’s called The Cohort and is a new way to accurately track which students get a diploma and which ones don’t.

“So what we have is a real number because it tells you, kid by kid, what happened with a child who was enrolled in our school system,” said Dr. Andres Alonso, Baltimore City Schools’ CEO.

This week, the state released new graduation numbers. After tracking ninth-graders who entered high school back in 2007 and 2008, state school leaders found that more Maryland students are graduating, even after five years in high school.

Nowhere is that better received than in Baltimore City.

Alonso says the effort to get students who had once dropped out back to school is working.

“Many kids drop out of school when, as they get older…they have a need or work or are chasing their friends,” Alonso said. “The most important piece is the high school diploma and kids can come back at any time.”

City school leaders say they have a two-fold method of increasing the graduation rate and decreasing the dropout rate. It includes strengthening attendance and fewer suspensions.

Baltimore City saw nearly 400 high school seniors drop out last year. It’s a group school leaders plan to address.


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