North Atlanta High School’s 2013 graduation rate was higher than the average for Atlanta Public Schools and the state of Georgia, Principal Gene Taylor reported.

At a March 26 meeting of the North Atlanta Parents for Public Schools, Taylor said more than 80 percent of North Atlanta’s student body graduated in four years, compared with 71.5 percent in Georgia and 58.6 percent in Atlanta Public Schools.

“We’re well above state and even above national average and we’re a Title I school,” Taylor said. “We’re doing more than getting the job done – we’re knocking the ball out of the park.”

Taylor said North Atlanta’s graduation rates are especially high given that so many students live in poverty.

“The most impressive news regarding North Atlanta High School’s 2013 four-year graduation rate may not be that we have one of the highest 2013 four-year graduation rates in the state, but that we are an urban, Title I school with over half of our students living at or below the poverty rate in 2013,” Taylor said in an email.

Taylor said there often is a relationship between poverty and poor performance in school.

“However, at North Atlanta High School, our students in the economically disadvantaged subgroup have a graduation rate higher than the average four-year graduation rate for APS, the state of Georgia and the nation,” Taylor said.

Taylor also reported that the achievement gap between black and white students is closing. In 2013, 80.4 percent of black students graduated, compared with 85.7 percent of white students.  That compares with Atlanta Public Schools’ average graduation rate of 56.4 percent for black students and Georgia’s 64.3 percent graduation rate for black students in 2013.

“Additionally, we are closing this gap so that a greater percentage of students than ever before in our white and black subgroups are graduating within four years, with North Atlanta High School having one of the highest four-year graduation rates of black students in urban schools in the nation,” Taylor said.

In 2012, former Atlanta school officials launched an investigation into allegations of racism against staff members at North Atlanta High School. The report found no evidence to support the claims.

North Atlanta Parents for Public Schools is a non-profit organization that promotes public education in the schools in the North Atlanta High School cluster.

Board of Education member Cynthia Briscoe Brown said NAPPS has become a model for parent involvement throughout the school system.

She said she’s gotten calls from parents at five different clusters asking for help organizing a cluster-wide parent advocacy group.

“I think that’s very exciting because I’ve seen what NAPPS has been able to do for this cluster,” Brown said.

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