Skip to contents

Chicago Reports Record-High Graduation Rate After Pandemic Interrupted Spring Learning

City officials said at a Friday press conference that 82.5% of students graduated in five years last spring, an increase of 2 percentage points over last year.

2020 Kenwood Academy graduates pose with gift cards donated through the Kenwood Food Project after their drive-through graduation ceremony last June.
Linda Swift
  • Credibility:

CHICAGO — Chicago students graduated from high school at a record rate last spring amid the pandemic’s intense disruption to learning. 

City officials said at a Friday press conference that 82.5% of students graduated in five years last spring, an increase of 2 percentage points over last year. The district calculated rates using a new methodology that it said better accounted for freshmen who drop out and re-enroll later and for older students with disabilities who complete school at age 22. 

Scroll down to find a searchable table with school-by-school data.

In announcing the district’s 2019-2020 graduation rates, officials said the achievement showed resiliency in the face of the coronavirus upheaval, which abruptly shifted learning online and challenged schools in unprecedented ways. 

As for whether the growth also reflected efforts by educators and schools to give students grace as many struggled with the transition to remote learning — from paring down assignments to offering more time to complete school work — schools chief Janice Jackson said the graduation rates gains were “baked in” over students’ entire high school careers, before the pandemic hit.  

Jackson said the increase was driven by growth in the percentage of Latino and Black students who finish school. 

“This was not limited by one type of student or one type of school,” said Jackson.

Don’t see the graphic? Click here.

Said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, “This is incredibly great news when you consider the challenges we all faced this past year, especially our students.”

Chicago’s five-year graduation rate first crested at 70% in 2016, and year-over-year growth has been a point of pride for city officials, with the rate nearing 80% last school year. In 2010, Chicago’s graduation rate hovered around 55%. 

But not all racial groups are completing high school at the same rate — a point of concern for administrators — and marked disparities persisted in 2020.

In 2020, according to the new methodology, 84.5% of Latino students graduated, a 2.2 percent increase over the previous year, and 78% of Black students graduated, an increase of 1.2 percentage points. 

White students graduated at a rate of 89%, and Asian students at 92%.

The district’s new methodology led the district to announce revisions in previous years’ rates that raised the numbers by 1 to 2 percentage points across the past four years, with the district revising the 2018-2019 rates from 78.9% to 80.9%. 

Chicago has previously come under scrutiny in years past for inflating its graduation numbers. 

District data have historically shown that girls consistently finish high school at higher rates than boys, with girls completing high school at rates above 84% and boys finishing at rates closer to 73%.

As in previous years, the individual schools reporting the highest rates tended to be the district’s selective enrollment, or test-in, schools. Of the 10 schools reporting the highest rates for last school year, seven are selective enrollments. That list includes Whitney Young, Northside College Prep, Walter Payton, Lane Tech, Jones College Prep, Hancock High School, Perspectives – Joslin High School, Back of the Yards, Westinghouse, and Williams High School. Find your school’s 5-year graduation rate

School NameGraduation ratePercentage point changeNumber of graduates
Whitney M Young Magnet High School98.1%-0.7%408
Northside College Preparatory High School97.5%-1.3%268
Walter Payton College Preparatory High School97.3%+0.4%217
Albert G Lane Technical High School96.9%+0.2%1,074
William Jones College Preparatory High School96.7%+0.4%404
Ray Graham Training Center High School96.4%+9.5%188
Perspectives – Rodney D. Joslin96.2%+0.6%51
Back of the Yards IB HS96.0%-1.3%240
George Westinghouse College Prep95.8%+0.7%272
Daniel Hale Williams Prep School of Medicine95.3%+2.9%61
Kenwood Academy High School95.0%+1.7%321
Acero Charter Schools – Major Hector P. Garcia MD95.0%+8.4%152
Dr Martin Luther King Jr College Prep HS94.8%-2.1%145
Infinity Math Science and Technology High School94.7%+1.2%108
Noble – Pritzker College Prep94.2%+5.1%243
Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy HS94.1%+1.1%208
Ogden International High School94.0%-0.4%79
Noble – UIC College Prep93.7%+2.7%207
Noble – Rauner College Prep93.6%+4.1%160
George Washington Carver Military Academy HS93.4%-2.8%99
Noble – Noble College Prep93.4%+2.0%156
Chicago Math and Science Academy Charter School93.4%+8.0%71
Marine Leadership Academy at Ames93.2%+2.8%179
Charles Allen Prosser Career Academy High School93.0%+2.3%317
Friedrich W von Steuben Metropolitan Science HS92.9%+1.4%395
University of Chicago – Woodlawn92.9%+14.0%105
Hyman G Rickover Naval Academy High School92.8%+4.2%128
Noble – Muchin College Prep92.3%-1.5%229
CICS – Northtown92.1%199
Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy92.0%-0.3%206
Robert Lindblom Math & Science Academy HS91.8%-4.0%269
Noble – Chicago Bulls College Prep91.2%+3.0%291
Perspectives – Math and Science Academy91.2%+9.1%104
Disney II Magnet High School91.0%+9.5%101
Greater Lawndale High School For Social Justice90.7%+3.9%78
Phoenix Military Academy High School90.3%-5.5%139
Richard T Crane Medical Preparatory HS90.3%+1.1%139
South Shore Intl College Prep High School90.0%-4.4%135
Intrinsic Charter School89.9%+2.7%151
Acero Charter Schools – Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz89.6%+9.6%43
Catalyst – Maria Charter School89.1%+11.1%122
Noble – Gary Comer College Prep88.9%+3.6%193
Eric Solorio Academy High School88.8%-1.4%237
Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences88.5%+3.4%154
Neal F Simeon Career Academy High School88.4%-1.2%245
William Howard Taft High School88.4%+4.5%571
Roald Amundsen High School88.3%+4.5%263
Lake View High School87.7%+1.1%272
Bronzeville Scholastic Academy High School87.4%+1.6%90
Chicago Military Academy High School87.0%-3.6%47
Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts)87.0%+1.3%127
Noble – Golder College Prep86.8%+1.1%145
George Washington High School86.5%+6.1%288
Noble – ITW David Speer Academy86.2%+0.7%337
Gurdon S Hubbard High School86.2%+2.6%392
Lincoln Park High School85.6%-4.0%369
Michele Clark Academic Prep Magnet High School85.6%+1.8%113
Morgan Park High School85.6%+7.1%286
Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy85.3%-2.0%157
Chicago Academy High School85.1%-0.1%120
Noble – John and Eunice Johnson College Prep84.7%+12.9%232
CICS – ChicagoQuest North84.6%+4.0%33
Roberto Clemente Community Academy High School84.5%+1.8%180
Noble – The Noble Academy84.0%+4.2%84
Noble – Butler College Prep84.0%+4.4%158
EPIC Academy Charter High School83.7%+4.3%118
Horizon Science Academy Southwest Chicago Charter83.7%41
Multicultural Academy of Scholarship83.6%+3.6%51
ASPIRA Charter School – Mirta Ramirez83.3%+18.8%10
Nicholas Senn High School83.2%+1.2%253
North-Grand High School82.9%+2.3%209
Urban Prep Academy for Young Men – Bronzeville82.6%+8.9%76
Acero Charter Schools – Victoria Soto82.6%+9.6%157
Stephen T Mather High School82.5%+3.4%298
ASPIRA Business and Finance81.8%121
CICS – Longwood81.3%-4.1%74
John F Kennedy High School80.7%+1.5%335
Noble – DRW College Prep80.3%+11.1%167
Noble – Hansberry College Prep80.2%-6.4%166
North Lawndale College Prep – Christiana80.2%+8.9%81
Percy L Julian High School79.9%+3.2%119
Louisa May Alcott College Preparatory HS79.8%-12.3%71
Chicago Vocational Career Academy High School79.7%+5.7%165
Air Force Academy High School79.6%-4.8%74
William J Bogan High School79.2%+1.1%141
Perspectives – Leadership Academy79.2%+2.2%84
CICS – Ralph Ellison79.1%-0.9%91
Perspectives – High School of Technology79.1%+1.1%72
Chicago Technology Academy High School78.9%-10.0%45
Marie Sklodowska Curie Metropolitan High School78.5%-0.3%578
Legal Prep Charter Academy78.1%+6.3%50
Benito Juarez Community Academy High School78.0%-4.4%369
Noble – Baker College Prep77.8%-3.4%119
Urban Prep Academy for Young Men – Englewood77.1%-3.1%74
World Language Academy High School77.0%-7.3%57
Spry Community Links High School76.9%+3.2%30
Al Raby High School76.5%+1.7%88
Hyde Park Academy High School76.4%-0.7%155
Austin Polytechnical Academy High School76.2%+15.6%16
Theodore Roosevelt High School75.4%+6.0%169
John Marshall Metropolitan High School73.8%+5.9%62
North Lawndale College Prep – Collins73.7%+0.3%84
Edwin G. Foreman College and Career Academy73.7%+7.6%126
Young Women’s Leadership Charter School73.4%-5.2%80
ASPIRA Charter School – Early College High School73.1%+2.6%68
Charles P Steinmetz College Preparatory HS73.0%-0.8%189
Noble – Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy72.9%-6.0%97
Thomas Kelly College Preparatory72.4%+4.1%437
Wells Community Academy High School71.4%-2.9%40
David G Farragut Career Academy High School71.1%+3.3%143
Carl Schurz High School71.0%+0.7%252
Uplift Community High School69.9%-17.4%58
Frederick A Douglass Academy High School69.7%+5.4%23
George H Corliss High School68.6%+0.9%59
Paul Laurence Dunbar Career Academy High School68.0%-0.2%100
Gage Park High School66.7%-4.2%56
Emil G Hirsch Metropolitan High School66.7%+14.4%20
Wendell Phillips Academy High School66.7%+2.9%98
Bowen High School63.6%+0.7%49
Roger C Sullivan High School63.4%-7.9%104
Urban Prep Academy for Young Men, West Campus62.9%-10.4%56
Collins Academy High School62.9%+2.4%39
Ellen H Richards Career Academy High School61.7%-5.0%50
Marine Leadership Academy60.0%+6.4%24
Edward Tilden Career Community Academy HS59.7%-0.9%40
Austin College and Career Academy High School58.8%-1.8%10
Chicago Virtual Charter School58.8%-7.9%20
Kelvyn Park High School58.2%-4.0%46
William Rainey Harper High School57.6%-12.4%34
John M Harlan Community Academy High School55.7%-6.7%64
Chicago Talent Development High School55.2%-7.0%16
Christian Fenger Academy High School53.1%-17.3%26
Manley Career Academy High School52.5%+4.7%21
Hope College Preparatory High School51.2%-16.3%22
Dusable Leadership Academy48.5%-18.2%16
Orr Academy High School46.7%+12.1%43
ACE Technical Charter High School28.1%-43.9%27
ACE Amandla Charter High School22.2%-17.2%6
Northside Learning Center High School6.7%+6.7%1

Check back for updates to this story.

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools. Sign up for its newsletter here.