Kenwood Graduation

Kenwood Academy seniors celebrate after receiving their diplomas during graduation ceremonies at McCormick Place's Arie Crown Theater, Wednesday, June 8.

Kenwood Academy’s four-year graduation rate was 93.5% last year, 10.6% higher than the Chicago Public Schools-wide rate, 82.9%. Hyde Park High School’s rate was 81.2%, just lower than the average, but the school saw 24.4% more students graduate in 2022 than in 2017, when 56.8% did.

The graduation rate at Hyde Park, 6220 S. Stony Island Ave., was 72.4% in 2018, 76.5% in 2019, 71.2% in 2020 and 77.6% in 2021. 

The highest graduation rate at Kenwood, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., in the last five years was 96.1% in 2020; the rate has been higher than 90% since 2018.

2022 four-year graduation rates at other area high schools were also above the district-wide rate. At Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St., it was 83.8%. At King College Prep, 4445 S. Drexel Blvd., it was 88.7%. And at South Shore High School, 1955 E. 75th St., it was 90.9%.

Across CPS, the graduation rate increased 2.7% in 2022.

“I’m deeply proud of the Class of 2022 and our overall continued progress,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez in a statement. “We know that the pandemic had a profound impact on learning as well as our students’ social-emotional well being yet somehow this class persisted and set a great example for their younger peers. Our students are beating the odds; their success is our city’s success.” 

Kenwood Principal Karen Calloway ascribes her school’s continued success to linking students to support staff and monitoring their progress as they progress through the grades.

"We were able to really spend time in building our systems to support students, and to make sure that if they weren't successful, they were able to capture that class again, either virtually or in summer school," she said in an interview.

Each student has a counselor who monitors their academic progress year-over-year, ensuring that they are taking all required courses. "If a student stumbles, then the counselor is the one who brings that to the attention of the student and the parent, and they're able to recapture the missing credit," Calloway said. 

She said students have bought into the idea of graduating from high school and matriculating at college.

"That's part of the culture here," she said. "It's now a culture of high school that we understand from the very beginning that we have to finish high school. I think that is something that might be a little different than in previous years: we've captured that mindset with pretty much all of our students."

"It's a culture of support, even more-so since than pandemic. We've been really hands-on with trying to make sure that we see where students are before they actually stumble. And for those students, we're able to really capture and provide supports," Calloway said, furthermore pointing to increased CPS funding for student tutorials and virtual programming through which students can make up credits.

The number of graduates at Kenwood have ranged from 290 in 2018 to 371 last year. At Hyde Park, 102 students graduated in 2021 and 2022, down from a high of 153 in 2018. King saw 151 students graduate in 2022, 197 in 2018 and 96 in 2017. Dyett, which closed for a year in 2015, when a dozen students graduated, saw 115 graduate in 2020, 140 in 2021 and 134 last year. South Shore saw 140 graduates in 2022, 167 in 2021 and 119 in 2018.

The district is seeing a continued, though narrowing, gap in graduation rates for students of color. In 2022, 78.2% of Black students graduated (up from 71.7% in 2017). Nearly 84% of Hispanic students graduated alongside nearly 91% of white students and 92.6% of Asian students. All area public high schools are majority-Black.

In 2010, the district-wide graduation rate was 55%.

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