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School report cards show magnet schools top other JCPS schools in graduation rates

Schools with graduation rates below the JCPS average had more than 73% of their students on free or reduced-priced meals.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Unlike in previous years, Kentucky schools were not given star ratings nor assessed based on academic performance in the 2019-20 School Report Cards.

Because the coronavirus pandemic caused districts to close in-person classes and suspend K-PREP testing, the Kentucky Department of Education's report cards mainly focus on school demographics, educational opportunities, school safety and transitional readiness.

KDE said data shows Kentucky continues to post a high graduation rate, with 90.9% of students earing high school diplomas in four years. The rate has increased from 90.6% and 90.3% in previous years.

For Jefferson County Public Schools, data showed most high schools maintained a graduation rate close to the previous year's. Seven schools had over a 1% drop in graduation rates: 

  • Atherton
  • Ballard
  • Butler
  • Doss
  • Moore
  • Southern
  • Western

Moore, Doss and Western's rates were below the overall JCPS graduation rate of 83.5%.

Nine JCPS high schools showed at least a 1% increase in graduation rate since 2019:

  • Central
  • Eastern
  • Fern Creek
  • Iroquois
  • Jeffersontown
  • Seneca
  • Shawnee
  • Valley
  • Waggener

When comparing schools' graduation rates with student demographics, schools where less than 50% of the student population identify as economically disadvantaged (eligible for free or reduced-priced meals) all have graduation rates above 90%.

Only four JCPS schools with more than 50% of their student population eligible for free or reduced-priced meals had graduation rates of 90% or higher: Central, Butler, PRP and Fern Creek.

While 80.8% of Central students and 66.8% of Butler students are considered economically disadvantaged, both are magnet schools that require application.

In fact, the highest graduation rates in JCPS belong to the district's magnet schools:

  • Brown
  • Manual
  • Male
  • Central
  • Butler

Conversely, schools with graduation rates below the JCPS average had more than 73% of their students on free or reduced-priced meals. Seneca, Moore, Doss, Iroquois, Shawnee and Western all had graduation rates below 83.5%.

While graduation rate was not impacted by COVID-19, career readiness data was. Additionally, numbers for attendance and school safety were impacted by non-traditional learning. KDE said schools will keep their 2018-19 federal classification due to the pandemic.

Though some districts have returned or plan to return to in-person classes, it is unclear how non-traditional instruction will impact the school report cards for the 2020-21 academic year as well.

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