Both Hall and Gainesville schools saw slight drops in their graduation rates in 2014, according to data released Thursday by the Georgia Department of Education.
Hall schools had a graduation rate of 75.2 percent, down from 77.5 percent in 2013. The rate for Gainesville schools was 68.7, down from 70.1 in 2013. Both districts had higher graduation rates in 2014 than in 2012.
The rates are the percentage of students who graduated high school with four years of study.
Graduation rates for the class of 2014 were above the state average, which was 72.5, for Hall and slightly below the average for Gainesville.
Hall has six traditional high schools and one that serves nontraditional students. Gainesville has one traditional and one nontraditional high school. Overall, students at nontraditional high schools historically do not perform as well as those at traditional schools.
North Hall High School had the highest graduation rate of either school district, with 96.7 percent of the class graduating within four years. The lowest rate was at the Lanier Career Academy, the nontraditional high school, where only 12.4 percent graduated. The rate for North Hall increased slightly over last year, but the rate for Lanier Career dropped significantly from last year, when it was 20.3 percent.
At Gainesville High School, the rate was 79.8 percent, up one point from 20113,, while Wood’s Mill Academy, the nontraditional high school, had a graduation rate of 18.1, down more than 10 points from the 2013 rate of 29.9.
Except for Lanier Career, all Hall schools had graduation rates of 84 percent or higher.
Hall schools graduated 1,461 students from a class of 1,942, and Gainesville graduated 332 from a class of 482. Gainesville High had 397 students in its 2014 class, and 317 graduated.
In Hall, graduation rates increased for three schools: Johnson, East Hall and North Hall high schools. Rates increased for both high schools in the Gainesville system.
Eloise Barron, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning in Hall, said the overall number of students graduating also increased in the district.
“Since we had 80-some-odd more students to graduate this year from our high schools, that indicates to me that we have more students transitioning from middle school and graduating,” she said. “We’re getting more students graduated, and for that we’re proud.”
Five Hall high schools had a larger number of graduates in 2013 than in 2012: North Hall, East Hall, Johnson, Chestatee High and Flowery Branch High School.
Wanda Creel, superintendent of Gainesville City Schools, said it’s important to note graduation rates do not include students who take more than four years to graduate or who get special education diplomas.
“The converse of the graduation rate does not give you the dropout rate. … There are a lot of elements that go into developing a graduation rate,” said Creel. “We want to send the message that some of our students may need a little more time to graduate.”