91 by 21: NC’s plan for student success


Julyana Ayache

According to NC’s mission statement, the Warrior Nation inspires excellence by building relationships and setting high expectations. This statement motivates NC administrators and students to strive for excellence on and off the campus. 91 by 21, the new initiative for raising NC’s graduation rate, reflects these ideas to encourage teachers to think outside of the box and students to challenge themselves. “Out in a global society, there is going to be a wealth of different approaches and mentalities … I think we adults could take some lessons from [the students]. Whether it’s politics, religion, or social norms and values, it’s amazing to see how well 3,000 kids can get along. I think [they] do a good job with that, and I think our teachers do a good job supporting [them]. That, in turn, we hope, prepares them for when the [leave] North Cobb.” NC Principal, Matt Moody said.

Erin Grier and Julyana Ayache

NC’s initial mission statement centered around the concepts of building relationships, setting high expectations and preparing diverse students. In compliance with the new Cobb County School District initiative, NC formulated a new plan to raise the graduation rate: in the 2018-2019 school year NC sustained a graduation rate of 89.6%, an increase of 0.5% since the previous year. However, NC plans to raise the graduation rate to 91% by the year 2021, hence the name of the proposal, 91 by 21.

“Even though we want 100 percent, we don’t want to negate those that are coming up short, because what about the other 9 percent? That’s not the case. We are concerned about everybody, but we just felt like something catchy, something that grabs you, 91 by 21. And something within our reach, that’s a point and a half,” NC principal Matt Moody said.

NC teachers in the guiding coalition attended a professional learning meeting on Thursday, January 23 to learn information about 91 by 21 and the collaborative community initiative: every 26 seconds, a student drops out of high school in the United States, around 7,000 students a day or 1.2 million a year. Administrators encouraged teachers to think outside of the box and take risks in the classroom to improve these statistics and prepare students to impact a global society.

Transfer students and dropouts negatively affect the graduation rate if administrators do not follow up with them. To prevent this, NC teachers and administrators will make an active effort to identify and keep track of withdrawn students proactively and continue working hard and pushing students forward. They will also provide additional opportunities for seniors. 

“If we have 100 kids in freshman year, it’s not just how many of them walk across the stage by senior year. It’s [about if]  we can prove that those 100 kids—some of whom move away—graduated. If you were only at North Cobb for a year and then you spend the next three years at Kell, that’s easy for us to track because it’s in the system. But if you move to South Georgia and now you’re in Savannah School Systems, we have to get that record, we have to prove that you graduated in 4 years, otherwise the state counts you as having dropped out,” NC social studies teacher Carol Galloway said. 

After taking on the position of principal during the 2018-2019 school year, Mr. Moody reworked NC’s slogan from the old “We are Orange” to “Inspiring Excellence.” The more universal meaning that comes with the new slogan reflects the diversity of NC. Students can inspire excellence in the classroom, on the field or in their community. Due to the strong motivation displayed by the NC administration and student body, Mr. Moody believes that NC can reach its goal.

“We’re a big school with lots of very different types of people—which is something that I really love—so whenever you have those fissures and factions it’s always hard to find the thing that pulls us all together, but I think striving for excellence is always a good place to start,” Galloway said.