Top of Page

Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools Announce More High School Students Staying in School Than Ever Before, With African American Students Driving Progress

23 August 2018

Investments in Mentoring, After School Programs and Social-Emotional Learning Critical to Lowest-Ever One-Year Dropout Rate

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

Thursday, August 23, 2018

CHICAGO - Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools announced today that more high school students are staying in school than ever before, with the one-year dropout rate at an all-time low of 6.4 percent, and with the biggest improvements coming from African American students. CPS’ investments in mentoring, after-school programming and social-emotional learning continue to support students and help them stay in school. Since 2011, the one-year dropout rate has decreased by 43 percent.

“Chicago’s students are making our city proud,” said Mayor Emanuel. “A record number of CPS high school students staying in school is a result of the hard work of Chicago’s students, educators, families and communities who are setting high goals, clearing them, and raising the bar for academic success."

Among African American students, 8.4 percent of high schoolers who started the school year did not finish, an improvement of 1.3 percentage points from the previous year’s rate of 9.7 percent.

“The progress made by African American students is a strong testament to the hard work of principals, teachers and families who share our vision for success, and the first step to accelerating growth in the district,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “The research is clear: students who attend class are more likely to succeed, and less likely to drop out. This continued progress, which is driven by African American students, is another example of why researchers at Stanford and the University of Chicago consider CPS a national leader in urban education,”

The overall one-year dropout rate decreased by 0.7 percentage points, from 7.1 percent in the 2016-17 school year to a record low 6.4 percent for the 2017-18 school year. Since 2011, the one-year dropout rate has decreased by 43 percent, from 11.2 percent to 6.4 this past school year. The one-year dropout rate reflects the number of students who drop out over the course of a given year, as opposed to the cohort dropout rate which reflects multiple years and aligns with the annual cohort graduation rate.

In recent years, CPS has prioritized initiatives to keep students more connected to their school communities, including after school programming, investments in arts education, social-emotional learning, restorative justice and mentoring programs. Earlier this month, Mayor Emanuel announced a $10.4 million investment in proven youth mentoring programs that help reduce violence and keep kids in school.

Under Mayor Emanuel’s leadership, the district has made strategic investments to support students and educators through several key initiatives designed to encourage student growth and performance. By extending and standardizing the length of the school day, implementing the rigorous Common Core curriculum, and expanding access to high quality school options and programming throughout the city – including STEM, IB, AP and dual-credit/dual-enrollment opportunities – academic performance has steadily increased, and students are now graduating from CPS schools better prepared for success in college and career. The 2017-2018 one-year dropout data is available at

Chicago Public Schools serves 371,000 students in 646 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.

# # #