Chicago Public Schools reached record-breaking graduation rates for the 2019-2020 school year, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson announced Friday.
Lightfoot said the school system's graduation rate ended up at 83.5% this past year, despite finishing the school year in a remote learning format.
The district also reported a record low dropout rate at 5.6% in the 2019-2020 school year, according to the Chicago mayor.
In 2019, CPS announced their highest graduation rate with 80.9% of students earning a diploma, school data showed.
Lightfoot praised the district's progress over the past decade as CPS had just 55.8% of students graduate in 2010.
“I came to this city in 1986, when graduation rate was 50%," Lightfoot said. "I had never heard of such a thing and look at what has happened since. I give credit to former Mayors Rich Daley and Rahm Emanuel.”
Jackson said the coronavirus did not derail seniors' efforts to finish school, but acknowledged that it will be a tough task to to continue the success with online learning in the 2020-2021 year.
“We have seen these trends over time. The numbers were expected," Jackson said. "It started with our Freshmen OnTrack program. It’s their entire high school experience.”
According to a statement from CPS, the district's Freshmen OnTrack program provides the "best indicator of whether or not a student will graduate." CPS said they can use this data not only to predict graduation rates, but also to examine which students need additional academic support.
Between 2013 and 2017, CPS' graduation rates improved 15.6%, while graduation rates nationwide improved just 3.2%, according to a statement from CPS.
The student population at CPS has decreased by 26,193 students since the 2016-2017 school year, however, with 355,156 enrolled this past year, school analysis data read.