Atlanta Public Schools (APS) achieved an 83.1 percent graduation rate for 2021, according to data released today by the Georgia Department of Education.

In a media statement, APS said it achieved an all-time high graduation rate and narrowed the gap with the state rate of 83.7% by 2.9 percentage points to a difference of 0.6 percentage points. This is the first time that APS has been this close to the state graduation rate.

A total of 2,557 students graduated on-time from APS in 2021. The percentage of students who graduated in 2021 is higher than any other year since 2012, when the state adopted the cohort graduation rate as required by federal law.

While the overall number of graduates is 13 fewer than cohort 2020, the 2021 cohort contained 126 fewer students than the 2020 cohort. See the graph below.

“I am incredibly proud of the Class of 2021. Despite a global pandemic, uncertainty, and racial unrest, these resilient scholars persevered and accomplished an important milestone,” said APS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring. “Their success in achieving APS’ all time high graduation rate is a testament to the focus and concerted efforts of our students, teachers, counselors, families and school leaders.”

Of the 17 schools with graduating classes, eight achieved percentage-point gains compared to 2020. The largest increase was at Carver STEAM, which achieved a 18.1-percentage-point gain. Other schools achieving gains include BEST MS/HS (+15.1), Jackson High (+7.3), Washington (+7.0), Therrell (+3.1), South Atlanta (+1.8), KIPP Collegiate (+1.6), North Atlanta (+1.6), and Drew Secondary (+0.8) See the graph below.

In addition, six schools had graduation rates greater than 90 percent: Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (100%), Drew Secondary (99.0%), North Atlanta High (93.9%), Atlanta Classical Academy (92.7%), BEST MS/HS (92.7%), and  Carver Early College (90.4%).

Graduation rates for both White students (97.4%) and Black students (80.6%) reached new highs with the 2021 cohort, while the rate for Hispanic students (80.2%) was slightly lower than the 2020 rate (82.8%) but higher than the 2019 rate of 80.0%.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.