The Cohort 2021 Black Graduation Rate in Metro Atlanta.

Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools Dr. Lisa Herring and nine of the district’s high school principals marched into the auditorium at Booker T. Washington High School through a line of the school’s cheerleaders, dance team, marching band drumline and auxiliary dancers to announce the APS’ all time high graduation rate.

The district graduated 83.1 percent of the class of 2021 cohort according to data from the Georgia Department of Education released Thursday.

Herring was joined on stage by board of education members Eshé Collins and Aretta Boldon and the nine principals to celebrate the announcement.

“By achieving this all-time high graduation rate APS has narrowed the gap with the state [graduation] rate which is 83.7 percent by 2.9 percentage points,” Herring announced.

The graduation rate went up by 2.8 percent overall since 2020. This is the closest APS has ever gotten to the statewide graduation rate, which was 83.7 percent for the 2021 cohort.

The data also showed that for economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities and English Language Learners the graduation rate decreased overall since 2020. Similarly while the graduation rate increased for both white and Black students, Hispanic students had a decrease.

While APS was celebrating this new high as a victory Herring also acknowledged that until the district reaches a 100 percent graduation rate they will still have work to do.

She thanked the teachers, counselors and administrators that she said all played a role in making the academic year successful throughout the pandemic.

In comparison with the five county districts in Metro Atlanta only Fulton and Cobb counties exceeded the statewide graduation rate. A look at the Black graduation rate shows that except for Gwinnett and DeKalb the graduation rate for black students was lower than the overall graduation rate.

This article is one of a series of articles produced by The Atlanta Voice through support provided by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to Word In Black, a collaborative of 10 Black-owned media outlets across the country.

Madeline Thigpen is an education reporter and Report for America Corps Member. She joined the Atlanta Voice in 2021. At the Voice she covers K-12 education for the Atlanta metro region and higher education....