Detroit Improves Graduation Rate; Baltimore Makes Strides in Kindergarten Readiness

  • Detroit Public Schools Community District recently received some good news about its high school graduation rates. According to the Michigan Department of Education, high school graduation rates in the state’s largest school district increased by 6.5 percentage points, from 64.5 percent to 71.1 percent. The district’s increase outpaced the state’s, which improved by 0.5 percentage points to 81 percent.

    Eighty-seven percent of high schools across the school system, 20 of 23, demonstrated improvements in the graduation rate. West Side Academy saw the biggest gains, with its graduation rate increasing by 25.6 percentage points, while Mumford High School’s graduation rate increased by 21.1 percentage points.

    Detroit Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said the improvement in graduation rates is a testament to the 45,000-student school system’s continued commitment to improve the high school experience for its students.

    “Although we still have a lot of work to do in this area, I am proud of the strategic and intentional work of our high school district team, high school principals and their staff,” Vitti said in a news statement. “The course recovery work, especially as a product of the pandemic, has been grueling for staff and students; but everyone refused to make excuses, and our students benefited by graduating in four years,” he added.

    Vitti was the 2022 winner of the Council of the Great City Schools’ Green-Garner Award, presented to the nation’s top urban educator.

    Baltimore’s Efforts to Increase Kindergarten Readiness Pays Dividends

    Baltimore City Public Schools is outperforming the state of Maryland overall in its rate of improvement in kindergarten readiness, according to Maryland state education officials.

    Students who recently took the state’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) improved eight percentage points from the 2021-22 to the 2022-23 school year, and nearly 65 percent of kindergarten students tested on the KRA attended a district pre-K program.

    District officials attribute the success to investments in early learning. Since 2017, a series of programs that focus on students in high-poverty households has been added, as part of the district’s Blueprint for Success strategic plan. Students in those programs participate in a series of activities and environments designed to build skills in literacy, language fluency and other areas they will need to be successful. Assessment scores indicate that these programs have attributed to improved kindergarten readiness.

    Maryland’s Ready for Kindergarten program administers the KRA to all kindergarten students in the first semester of a school year, allowing teachers to measure each child’s readiness across multiple domains.