CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A closer look at Charlotte - Mecklenburg school (CMS) district's graduation rate reveals more and more minorities are getting a high school diploma from the district.
Blacks now have a 66.3% graduation rate - that's up by about five points. Hispanics graduation rate is 57.3% - up by nearly three points. Asian and American Indian graduation rates are also on the rise.
Overall CMS has a 72% graduation rate. That is a jump from last year. But district officials say their work is far from done.
"When students do not graduate," CMS Dir. of State and Federal Program Christopher Corbitz said. "No matter how good an education we gave them, we have not completed our job."
Corbitz said CMS is really working hard to zero in on increasing the graduation rate. Not only has a person been hired to go over data to make sure CMS students are graduating on time, but principals will also be on the lookout for potential dropouts.
"Our principals are paying attention to transcripts," Corbitz said. "What credits students need - ensuring students get into the right courses so they can graduate on time."
Some principals are taking a practical approach. Mallard Creek HS former principal Kelly Gwaltney said last year her school had more than a 90% graduation rate. 66% of the school's student population is black. The principal said focused counselors helped get the job done as well as $25,000 CMS gave the school to provide tutoring for students who were behind.
"There were days that some kids wanted to give up," Gwaltney said. "They were tired. That was the whole idea of sitting down with a student - one on one - no matter what. It's finding the right person who connects with them."
The principal also had signed contracts from students. Graduating from high school released them from the contract.
"There are things that are not going to be fun," the former principal said. "But it's going to be worth it on the other end."
CMS officials said they won't be satisfied until the district's graduation rate reaches 90% or higher.
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