Maryland students are receiving their high school diplomas than ever before,
according to data released last week by the Maryland State Department of
Education. As the graduation rate has
hit record levels, the dropout rate has declined.
student who graduates from high school moves a step closer to college, career,
and a world of opportunities,” said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M.
Lowery. “These results show that
Maryland is headed in the right direction, but we also must continue work to
close gaps in graduation rates that persist among students of different
four-year cohort graduation rate reached 86.39 percent in 2014 -- more than 4
percentage points better than the 81.97 percent rate registered in 2010. The graduation rate jumped more than 1
percent over 2013, from 84.97 percent.
At the same time, dropout rates have fallen to new lows.
gaps in graduation rates between student groups remain, the numbers improved
across the board in 2014:
- Four-year cohort graduation rates for American
Indian, African American, Asian, Hispanic, and White students improved
between 2013 and 2014, as did the rate for students identifying as two or
- The graduation rate for African American
students has jumped from 76.09 in 2010 to 80.54 in 2014.
- The graduation rate for Hispanic students has
improved nearly 6 percentage points, from 71.7 percent in 2010 to 77.5
percent in 2014,
- Among students receiving special services, the
four-year cohort graduation rate rose in two of three categories. The
graduation rate for Special Education students, for example, improved more
than 3 percentage points in one year, from 60.03 percent to 63.45
- The graduation rate for students receiving
free- or reduced price meals increased by nearly two percentage points,
from 75.81 percent to 77.75 percent.
- The graduation rate for English Language
Learners (ELL) dipped from 57.3 percent to 54.1 percent. It should be noted that many ELL
students spend an additional year in high school. The five-year cohort graduation rate for
ELL students in 2013--the most recent year with complete figures--stood at
five years ago moved to the cohort graduation rate, which follows a set group
of students from freshman year through their senior year. The four-year cohort graduation rate has
improved every year since.
Simultaneously, the dropout rate has been in steady decline. The State’s dropout rate, which stood at 11.93
percent in 2010, dropped to 8.35 percent in 2014.
percentage of students dropping out of school also has declined across racial
subgroups. The four-year cohort dropout rate for Hispanic students has declined
from 18.65 percent in 2011 to 14.68 percent in 2014. The dropout rate for African American
students fell from 14.6 percent in 2011 to 10.57 percent in 2014.
The new high school and system
data is available on the updated MdReportCard.org.
teacher Maggie Hawk walked into the school assembly with her first grade class
last Wednesday, she had no idea she was walking into her own party as the guest
of honor. Minutes later, the Yellow Springs Elementary School teacher was
shocked when, in the midst of students, teachers, staff and assembled
dignitaries, she heard her name announced as the Maryland recipient of the
prestigious Milken Educator Award, which comes with an unrestricted $25,000
Family Foundation Co-Founder Mike Milken, together with Maryland State Chief
Academic Officer Jack Smith, delivered the news to the flabbergasted young
said Hawk embodies the qualities of a Milken Educator.
Maggie Hawk says all students can and will learn, she is speaking from personal
experience," said Milken. "As a child who struggled with learning
issues, she learned from her own teachers how to overcome challenges and
blossom into the outstanding educator she is today. She helps students with
severe disabilities overcome their challenges to make significant progress in
the classroom. All her students know how much she cares.”
made the comment that Hawk is the quintessential elementary school teacher,
using any means necessary to make certain her first graders thrive and succeed.
builds a foundation for learning at Yellow Springs Elementary,” Dr. Smith said.
“From that foundation, the students can do anything they put their minds to.”
first-grade teacher, Hawk has built an ideal learning environment by combining
solid data, effective use of technology and a collaborative teaching approach
combined with an unflagging work ethic and a commitment to connect with each
student. Students with academic or behavioral difficulties routinely blossom in
her class, and every student exceeds the high expectations set for them.
co-teaching with other specialists to meet student IEP needs or supporting
students who already excel to greater heights, Hawk’s students consistently
leave her class above grade-level in core subjects, confident and ready to
learn more. Hawk is committed to using technology and the widest variety of
traditional and innovative learning techniques to help each student deeply
understand the material.
the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher Magazine,
the Milken Award recognizes exemplary elementary and secondary school teachers,
principals and specialists who are furthering excellence in education. The
award comes with an unrestricted financial prize of $25,000 and alternates
yearly between elementary and secondary educators.
the recognition typically bestowed to recipients, Hawk now belongs to a network
of more than 2,600 K–12 teachers, principals and specialists from around the
country. Past recipients have used their Awards to finance their children’s
education or their own continuing education. Others have financed dream field
trips, established scholarships and even funded the adoption of children.
joined the Milken Educator Awards program in 1993. Since then, there have been
59 recipients in the state.
State Superintendent of Schools
Lillian M. Lowery
Maryland schools next month will
begin full implementation of the new Partnership for the Assessment of
Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams, and we are excited about the
change to this cutting edge program.
MSDE will be spending the next month putting a spotlight on the new
assessments and encouraging our schools and students to #PrepareForPARCC.
The new assessments replace the
Maryland School Assessments in English and mathematics in grades 3-8, and
replace the High School Assessments in Algebra I and English 10. Those tests
have moved our State forward, but with new standards comes the time to take the
The new PARCC assessments are
aligned to the Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards, developed from the
Common Core and fully implemented during the 2013-14 school year. PARCC allows
us to assess and measure higher-order skills such as critical thinking,
communications, and problem solving. Three out of every four students will be taking
these assessments online.
PARCC is an advanced assessment that
will assist educators in the classroom by providing instructional tools to
support implementation of the new standards.
We are excited about the information our educators and parents will
receive from the assessments.
Prepare for PARCC
* * *
MSDE last month
announced a wonderful new collaboration with Microsoft. The corporation will bring 25 new high-level
information technology academy programs to Maryland schools. At the same time,
all Maryland public school students and their families also can download free
Office productivity tools for learning through an agreement with the Microsoft
collaborated with MSDE on the project in response to President Obama’s
ConnectED challenge. On February 4, 2014, President Obama visited Buck Lodge
Middle School in Adelphi, MD to announce progress on the national ConnectED
initiative to connect 99 percent of students to broadband Internet. Microsoft
and other private-sector companies committed to deliver modern technologies to classrooms.
collaboration, young people and adults have access to the tools, skills and
certification opportunities they need to train at school and at home for
in-demand careers. Private-sector
companies like Microsoft are helping to strengthen learning by increasing
access to the technology and training needed to acquire skills for any
professions that students choose to pursue.
provide a one-year license for the Microsoft IT Academy program to 25 high
schools in 10 county school systems, including High Point High School in Prince
George’s county, where the announcement was made. All students in the receiving
high schools will have access to online courses and tutorials, and teachers
receive unlimited access to instructional tools. While many students currently
use Microsoft applications as part of daily instruction, creating documents, or
completing assignments, not all students receive instruction in the use of
advanced applications or computing. The Microsoft IT Academy resources are
designed to help students learn computing and advance their technical skills in
a wide range of applications and receive industry-recognized certifications.
In addition, MSDE,
Microsoft, and the Maryland Education Enterprise Consortium (MEEC) have
arranged for all students at public schools in the State to receive the
Microsoft Office 365
ProPlus benefit at
no additional cost. Every student and
teacher at public schools across the State can download Microsoft Office on up
to five PCs or Macs, and Office apps on any mobile device, enabling them to get
their school work done virtually at any time and from anywhere.
private and secure site has been developed by Planet Technologies, in
collaboration with MSDE. Students and
their families can download Office 365 ProPlus at the following Internet
Maryland Schools Gear Up for PARCC Assessments
January 28, 2015
Maryland Schools Superintendent Lillian Lowery talks about the PARCC assessments that start in March. Her comments kick off Maryland's campaign to keep parents informed about PARCC.
Maryland's 2014-15 Teachers of the Year are Recognized in Annapolis
January 22, 2015
Maryland's 2014-15 Teachers of the Year are recognized and honored by lawmakers in Annapolis on Day 1 of the session.
Maryland Microsoft STEM Partnership
January 8, 2015
Maryland and Microsoft announced a partnership today that introduces 25 new IT Academy programs at Maryland schools. Students, teachers, and families will benefit -- more from High Point HS in Prince George's County.
MSDE Video Highlights
February 5 - Formative Assessment Road Trip (Conference) - UMBC, Baltimore
February 7 - Maryland EdCamp - MSDE, Baltimore
February 24 - Maryland State Board of Education meeting, Baltimore
On-time Graduation Rate Reaches New High
$25K Milken Prize Goes to
and Microsoft Partnership Brings Free Office 365 to Students