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SOMA Schools See Increase in Graduation Rates

This was the third year the state used a federally mandated methodology for calculating the graduation rate.

by Eric Goodman and Mike D'Onofrio

The South Orange and Maplewood School District has seen an increase in graduation rates from 2012 to 2013, after a drop of more than six percent in the previous year, according to a recent report.

The New Jersey Department of Education released a report detailing the graduation rates for school districts throughout the state on Wed., Dec. 4.

According to the report, the SOMA district had a graduation rate of 91.9 percent in 2011, 85.34 percent in 2012 and 89.58 percent in 2013.

"We are very proud of the hard work and dedication of our students, the efforts of our talented staff, and the support of our parent community, which result in Columbia High School students graduating at a higher rate than the state average – both in total, and in 6 out of 7 subgroups," said SOMA Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne.

The highest districtwide graduation in Essex County was next door in Verona, which had a graduation rate of 98.62. Verona edged out Millburn, which had a 98.60 percent rate, and Cedar Grove, which had a 97.92 percent rate.

New Jersey's high school graduation rate was 87.5 percent in 2013, which increased from 86.5 percent the previous year. 

This is also the third year the state used a federally mandated methodology for calculating the graduation rate, which according to the state's website, is "designed to provide a more complete accounting of graduation rates by tracking cohorts of students over four years, starting from the time they enter the ninth grade."

"The State moved to a four year cohort graduation rate three years ago," said Osborne. "This measures the percent of students who begin at each specific high school as freshmen, and graduate from that same high school within 4 years.   The 4 year cohort rate for CHS is 89.6%, however each year, approximately 96% of our CHS seniors graduate.  Some of them are in their 5th year of high school, some began at CHS after freshman year, and some who originally started at CHS have moved to other schools."  

"We are consistently proud of the achievements of our CHS students during their time here, and of their accomplishments in post-secondary education and in life," he added.

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