The Georgia Department of Education released the 2017 report on statewide graduation rates where Chattooga High School reached record numbers. While the graduation rate for the state was 80.6%, Chattooga High School graduated 204 of 217 seniors for a 94% graduation rate, the highest in school history.
Superintendent Jimmy Lenderman was more than pleased with the increases remarking, “I would like to congratulate Mr. Jeff Martin, his teachers, staff and outstanding students, for again setting a new record for the highest graduation rate in the history of Chattooga High School.”
Principal Jeff Martin said, “The record graduation rate is not just something that represents the high school. It represents the entire community. I want to thank the parents for getting more involved, for their support and for the love that they have for this school. The increased parental involvement is a huge part of this success.”
Martin went on to say, “It’s not only the work that our teachers put in. It’s the love they have for each student. Addressing their needs, from school supplies to Christmas gifts, our teachers reach into their own pockets to fill those needs. At Chattooga, students are more than just a number or a test score.”
Chattooga now implements so many programs that tie the community to the students and vice versa, making the students feel their value.
“Hold your head up high and be proud that you attend or attended Chattooga High School. That means something.” says Martin.
All low-income school districts face an uphill battle with student retention and graduation rates. As students are pushed to drop out and enter the work force early, school administrators are forced to find new and innovative methods for engaging these high-risk students and convincing them of the value of a high school diploma. The CTAE career pathways program has been a critical component in improving overall graduation rates.
In addition, the Jobs for Georgia Graduates (JGG) program identifies students in 7th and 8th grade who are at high-risk for dropping out. As these students enter high school, they are placed into the JGG program which gives them special skills and focuses on preparing them for life. Graduation rates in the JGG program have been 100% at Chattooga High School while winning 14 national championships through the Jobs For Georgia Graduates Competitions. Principal Martin said, “We want these students to leave school being more prepared for life, better citizens, better parents, better people, because in 10 years, these students will be playing a part in running this community.”
Chattooga School District includes the Chattooga Academy which identifies students who, for various reasons, are not going to find success in a traditional school setting. Teachers, administrators and parents work together to identify cases for placement in the Academy. These students have very little hope for academic success without the Academy and every graduate from the program is viewed as a student rescued. The Academy and Chattooga High School still give the Chattooga School District an 83% graduation rate which remains above the state average and is the highest district average in system history.
Trion City Schools also exceeded the statewide graduation rate as Trion High School graduated 92.6% with 87 of the 94 seniors receiving diplomas.