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Howard County

Howard County schools class of 2022 achieves 94.6% graduation rate, highest in 11 years

The Howard County Public School System recorded a graduation rate of 94.6% for the Class of 2022, the third-highest graduation rate in the state for 2021-2022 and the system’s highest rate since 2011, according to school officials.

The graduation rate represented a 1.8 percentage point increase over the class of 2019 and stands above the Maryland state average of 86.3% for 2022.


“Graduation is our north star and a culmination of the hard work by each student, staff member and parent/guardian from the time the student enters our doors until the day they graduate,” Superintendent Michael J. Martirano said in a news release. “While our graduation rate is an achievement that should be celebrated, we will also continue to recognize the disparities that persist among student groups and continue to address these gaps.”

While the overall rate steadily increased the past several years, disparities persisted along racial and economic lines. Within the class of 2022, Asian, white and Black students achieved graduation rates of 95%, 95% and 93.3%, respectively, while Latino students graduated a rate of 81.6%. Eighty-four percent of students receiving free and reduced-price meals and 76% of special-education students graduated.


Latino students also had the highest dropout rate of any racial group by more than nine percentage points at 13.3%.

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“Staff are continuing to work with every student to ensure they graduate from high school and can pursue their postsecondary aspirations,” Martirano wrote in a Wednesday memo to the school board. “Individualized supports include specialized schedules, beyond school hours and beyond school year options to receive credits, and a focus on strengthening relationships and student engagement.”

State education officials presented data on graduation and dropout rates for the 2021-2022 school year on Tuesday as part of the preliminary results for the state’s school rating system, known as the Maryland Report Card. The accountability system, which awards each public school up to five stars, was put on pause after 2018-2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the final results for last school year will be released March 9.

Howard County’s Class of 2022 entered freshman year in 2018-2019 and saw their high school careers upended by the pandemic. After enduring remote and hybrid learning for the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year, high schoolers returned in-person but masked in the fall of 2021.

Despite pandemic-induced learning challenges, the Class of 2022′s graduation rates also demonstrated resilience. The rate for students with limited English proficiency jumped 9.5 percentage points from 2018-2019 to 56.7% for the Class of 2022. Rates for students receiving free and reduced-price meals, Black and Hispanic students also rose by 4.9, 2.2, and 4.6 percentage points, respectively, since 2019.

Of the 4,662 students who entered Howard County public high schools in the fall of 2018, 94.6% graduated in four years. The Class of 2022′s dropout rate was 3.15%, down from 4.53% for the Class of 2019.

“The Board of Education celebrates our students’ accomplishments, alongside their families and the HCPSS staff who supported them on their journey,” Howard school board Chair Antonia Watts said in the release. “While we recognize that we have work to do to decrease the disparities [that] exist between student groups, the achievements and successes of our students are remarkable and should be celebrated.”

To view more Maryland Report Card results, visit: