the Georgia High School Writing Test.
Ninety-nine percent of students passed the exam on their first attempt, which is higher than the state's 96 percent average. Eleventh-grade students must past the test in order to receive what's known as a regular education diploma. The two-hour exam features 100 minutes of writing time "in response to a persuasive writing prompt," the district said on Friday.
It's given three times a year so each student has multiple chances to pass.
The percentage of the district's 2,392 11th-grade first-time regular program test-takers passing the fall 2013 test sits at 99 percent, the same rate the district had in 2012.
Cherokee's students with disabilities also surpassed state results, with 87 percent passing, compared to the state’s 70 percent passing rate. The district's English Language Learners also exceeded the state's average, with 67 percent passing as opposed to the state's 60 percent rate.
Broken down, the averages are as follows:
- Georgia: 96%
- Cherokee County School District: 99%
- Cherokee HS: 98%
- Creekview HS: 99%
- Etowah HS: 99%
- River Ridge HS: 99%
- Sequoyah HS: 99%
- Woodstock HS: 99%
Cherokee Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo praised the results.
"These results, coupled with the recent release of continued top scores on the SAT and ACT, strengthen the school district’s reputation as a teaching and learning institution where every child receives an outstanding education," he said. "This success is a result of the strong partnership between and among students, teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, volunteers, local businesses and everyone in our community who advocates for our public schools."
Petruzielo noted the district and employees are making these strides, despite facing $172 million in state educational funding cuts, declines in local property values and student growth during an economic recession.
All those have led to larger class sizes, furlough days and increased poverty rates, the superintendent said. Petruzielo also points out that nearly one in three of the district's students now qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.
“We are extremely proud of our students and everyone on Team CCSD,’who not only continue to rise to challenges before them, but exceed expectations at every turn," the superintendent said.