District 51 nears parity with state for graduation


Graduation rates

Large Colorado school districts with big improvements in graduation rates from 2008 to 2009:

• Greeley-Evans School District 6: up 4.3 percentage points to 70 percent.

• Jefferson County Schools: up 4.2 percentage points to 81.3 percent.

• Denver Public Schools: up 4.1 percentage points to 52.6 percent.

• Mesa County Valley School District 51: up 3.2 percentage points to 73.8 percent.

School District 51 reversed a trend when it matched Colorado’s 3.6 percent dropout rate in 2009, according to data released Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Education.

District 51’s dropout rate, which measures how many students drop out of school in the seventh through 12th grades each year, has been higher than the state for at least the past six years. In 2008, the state dropout rate was 3.8 percent, compared to 4.3 percent in District 51.

The state’s graduation rate, however, remained higher than District 51 in 2009, coming in at 74.6 percent, compared to District 51’s 73.8 percent. The graduation rate measures how many students that started as freshmen in fall 2005 graduated from a high school in spring 2009. Students who moved to a different district while in high school were counted as part of the graduation rate at the school they graduated from.

District 51 Director of High Schools Bill Larsen said the district graduated about 43 more students than it would have with the previous year’s graduation rate. The state overall saved about 1,000 students by raising its graduation rate, he said.

“We’re a significant part of that celebration,” Larsen said.


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