NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — New Bedford officials gathered Thursday to mark a major achievement for the city’s high school: its graduation rate has improved by 30 percentage points over the past 8 years.
“The trajectory has continued to go in the right direction,” Superintendent Thomas Anderson said.
Anderson, together with Mayor Jon Mitchell, members of the school committee and other local leaders, made the announcement that 88% of seniors graduated in 2020, compared to 58% in 2012.
The MCAS standardized test was not included as a graduation requirement last year, but the school has seen considerable growth regardless, officials said.
“It takes persistence and adherence to high standards,” Mitchell said. “I believe in this place.”
Additionally, the dropout rate in 2020 was 2.1%, which is down from a high of 9% in 2009, according to school officials.
The mayor said a huge step was the leaps forward the school took in English as a second language (ESL) education.
“Understand the degree of difficulty here: this is a high school that has taken on literally hundreds of refugees in the last five or six years,” Mitchell noted.
They also credited improvements in individualized support for students.
Leaders agreed there is still room to grow until they reach a 100% graduation rate.