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Summer 2015 Vol. 22 No. 6 Focus on Boosting Graduation Rates for All

What’s working? What’s not?

Photo: Mitchell Leff | City of Philadelphia

Mayor Nutter congratulates 2014 graduates from New Foundations Charter High School. Since 2008, the mayor has made increasing graduation rates a major priority.


Dale Mezzacappa

The on-time high school graduation rate in Philadelphia has risen from 52 to 65 percent over the last eight years. A new report shows that the most rapid progress has been among traditionally at-risk groups including Black males, Hispanics, students in foster care, and those involved in the juvenile justice system.

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Neighborhood schools: Fragile gains at risk


Bill Hangley Jr.

The faces of young Philadelphia can be found sitting around a table in the sunny classroom of a neighborhood high school.

There’s a young woman from Bangladesh who loves learning, but who just two years ago spoke hardly any English.

There’s a young African American man who wants to be doctor, whose uncle once told him that he wasn’t college material.

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Smaller high schools give graduation rates a boost


Connie Langland

At Kensington Creative & Performing Arts High School, junior Gina Rodriguez said, she has found a place where she can be creative, express herself, and confide in teachers when she feels overwhelmed.

The principal, Lisette Agosto-Cintron, said the school is so small that everybody knows everybody.

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Nutter is ‘pleased,’ but not satisfied, with grad-rate gains


Dan Hardy

Nearing the end of his second term, Mayor Nutter can chalk up among his achievements a 13-point increase in the percentage of Philadelphia high school students getting a diploma. Raising the high school graduation rate to 80 percent by 2015 was one of his main goals when he took office in 2008.

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