NEW BEDFORD — New Bedford High School’s 2018 four-year cohort graduation rate has increased to 76.0 percent, the highest in 12 years, based on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) recent reporting on statewide graduation rates.

The 2017 four-year cohort graduation rate was 72.0 percent, a 4.0 percent increase, representing tremendous growth from the 2010 low of 61.4 percent.

NBHS English Language Learners (ELL) had the highest increase from 30.6 percent in 2017 to 53.5 percent in 2018 – up 22.9 percent.

“This remarkable progress is a direct correlation to the recent budget investments made in our students’ future,” Superintendent Thomas Anderson stated. He also noted that “This reflects the dedication to the overall teaching and learning process that is supported long before students enter high school. This progress is something that all staff can and should be proud of, from the Pre-K teachers to every staff member in the high school.” Superintendent Anderson also expressed his appreciation to the willingness of all staff to work with students to provide opportunities for them to be successful.

New Bedford High School has also experienced a sharp decline in its dropout rate, another key metric reported by DESE. The 2010 dropout rate of 7.4 percent is a stark contrast to the 2.7 percent drop in 2017 and the new low of 1.4 percent in 2018, the lowest since DESE began reporting this information in 2007.

Mayor Jon Mitchell said, “It is encouraging that New Bedford High School’s graduation rate continues to improve thanks to the hard work of educators and students as we continue to focus on improving our schools. The graduation rate is more than a statistic – it means that more students are prepared for success after high school. New Bedford Public Schools have made significant strides in the past few years, and this is yet another indicator of progress.”

Headmaster Bernadette Coelho said, “The entire staff is focused on preparing every one of our students for graduation, ready for college and other opportunities. I’m proud of our hardworking students and staff; it is because of their determination and diligence that we continue to see larger and larger graduating classes. It can only happen if every student matters, and as I’ve said before, we know that with a plan, every student can and will succeed.”

--New Bedford Public Schools