District 51 graduation rate of 77.6 percent beats state
On the downside, local dropout rate was also higher
School District 51 had a higher on-time graduation rate than the state average for the sixth consecutive year in 2013 but the district also recorded a higher dropout rate than the state in 2012-13.
Graduation and dropout rates recorded by the Colorado Department of Education measure two different populations. While the dropout rate counts how many students from grades seven through 12 dropped out of school in one year alone, the on-time graduation rate tallies how many students who started as freshmen one particular year graduated high school four school years later.
The department also reports five-year and six-year graduation rates for students who take an extra year or two to graduate.
In District 51, 77.6 percent of students who began ninth grade in 2009-10 graduated in 2012-13 — seven-tenths of a percentage point ahead of the state average. Another 3.8 percent of that ninth-grade cohort graduated early and 1.4 percent earned a GED.
Eight percent of the freshmen from 2009-10 are still enrolled in the district, either at a high school or in the ASCENT program, which allows Colorado students to be fifth-year high school seniors who attend college for a year using school district money to pay tuition. Seventeen district students are participating in ASCENT this year, according to District 51 Chief Academic Officer Bill Larsen.
The remaining students in the would-be Class of 2013 either dropped out or moved out of the state and never had their records transferred to their new districts. The district’s dropout rate in 2012-13 was three-tenths of a percentage point ahead of the state average at 2.8 percent.
Both the district’s graduation and dropout rates are basically flat year-over-year, prompting Larsen to share both concerns and excitement about district efforts to keep kids in school.
Larsen said the district is doing a better job of making graduation a focus in all grade levels and progress monitors in every high school help reach out to students who may be on the track to dropping out.
Budget cuts in recent years, though, have sliced the number of progress monitors at each high school in the district in half, from two down to one.
“The progress monitor reduction has caused us to have less attention to each student,” Larsen said.
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On-time graduation rates for the class of 2013
MESA COUNTY VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT 51
Central High: 81.3 percent
Fruita Monument High: 91.7 percent
Gateway: 0 percent
Grande River Virtual Academy: 40 percent
Grand Junction High: 82.3 percent
Mesa Valley Vision: 88.2 percent
Palisade High: 79 percent
R-5 High: 30.1 percent
DE BEQUE 49-JT
De Beque Undivided High: 66.7 percent
Cedaredge High: 100 percent
Delta High: 85.9 percent
Hotchkiss High: 96.7 percent
Paonia Jr/Sr High: 100 percent
Grand Valley High: 73 percent
Coral Ridge High: 83.5 percent
Rifle High: 84.4 percent
Montrose High: 87.2 percent
Olathe High: 86.8 percent
Grand Mesa High: 16.5 percent
Plateau Valley High: 85 percent
Colorado: 76.9 percent
Source: Colorado Department of Education.