Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Thursday that Chicago Public Schools are on the way to achieving a graduation rate of 82 percent, a 25 percent jump from 2007.
Citing research from the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (UChicago CCSR), Emanuel credited CPS' focus on keeping ninth graders "on track" academically as part of a mounted effort to curb the dropout rate.
According to the consortium, students who successfully make it through ninth grade are almost four times as likely to receive a high school diploma than their "off track" peers. Freshmen get the "on track" label if they finish at least 10 semester credits and earn no more than one "F" in key courses such as English and math.
"Chicago Public School students are continually raising the standard of academic excellence," Emanuel said in a statement. "We must remain focused on successfully transitioning students from eighth to ninth grade to ensure all students from every neighborhood in Chicago are 100 percent college ready and 100 percent college bound."
Teacher intervention methods included extra algebra tutoring and making calls to parents when students skipped class.
The Mayor's announcement comes on the heels of a tense standoff between CPS board members and supporters of three elementary schools whose staffs are required to re-apply for their positions as part of an overhaul led by the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL).
Protests from principals, teachers and parents did nothing to sway the board from approving AUSL to step in to turn around the schools' low attendance and standardized test scores. The nonprofit, launched in 2001 to improve Chicago students' performance through introducing new principals and teachers, also oversees 29 other schools. (While CPS touts above-average test scores under AUSL management, 22 schools under the organization's purview remain on academic probation, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.)