York County sees higher grad rate than state average

Jessica Schladebeck

A new report shows Pennsylvania has an overall graduation rate of 85 percent, with the majority of York County schools seeing upwards of 90 percent of their students earning diplomas in four years.

York County schools recently received some good news about area graduation rates.

Nationwide, the on-time high school graduation rate hit a record high of 82.3 percent for the class of 2014, according to the recent report by GradNation.

On the flip side, the study notes schools across the country continue to suffer from severe gaps in graduation rates affecting students of color and students from low-income families.

According to the report, 11 states graduate less than 70 percent of Hispanic students, 17 states graduate less than 70 percent of black students, and 16 states graduate less than 70 percent of low-income students.

Though Pennsylvania is not among those states, it is graduating students within those groups at only a slightly higher rate, while most schools in York County show significantly higher numbers there.

In general: Twelve out of York County's 16 school districts have higher graduation rates than that of the state's, according to the most recent data collected by the state Department of Education.

All 12 districts saw more than 90 percent of its students graduate in 2014, with Southern York County and Northern York County school districts having the highest graduation rates of nearly 97 percent and about 96 percent, respectively.

The four districts with rates below the state's 85 percent are only just below that mark. Both Dover Area and Northeastern school districts had graduation rates of about 84 percent, according to the state's data. And those district's with the lowest rates, Hanover Public and York City school districts — 83 percent and 81 percent respectively — have shown an increase in the number of students graduating in comparison to prior years.

Further breakdown: When it comes to low-income students, all York County school districts are at least on par with the state's graduation rate of about 76 percent. The majority of York County schools see low-income students graduate at a rate higher than 80 percent, and three districts— Southern York County, Southwestern and Spring Grove Area school districts — boast a rate upwards of 90 percent.

For the first time in four years, the state experienced a slight decrease in the percentage of black students graduating on time, though the rate has improved a little more than 7 percent since 2011.

York County schools see black students graduate at a much higher percentage compared to the state's rate of 72 percent, according to state data. Four districts saw all of these students graduate, and only two districts reported a rate lower than 80 percent.

All York County schools also saw higher graduation rates than the state's 70 percent for its Hispanic students, with the majority of schools seeing at least 85 percent of this student population graduate.

— Reach Jessica Schladebeck at jschladebeck@yorkdispatch.com.