Kurt Hildebrand
khildebrand@recordcourier.com

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January 28, 2014
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Douglas County graduation rate climbs

Douglas County schools posted the third highest 2013 graduation rate in Nevada with 84.96 percent.

“I’m so happy for our teachers, principals and our kids,” Douglas Superintendent Lisa Noonan said. “This speaks volumes to all the hard work that our people are doing.”

Noonan said graduation is the culmination of the district’s efforts.

“That diploma is everything we’re working on from day one in kindergarten,” she said. “We don’t want to give up on anybody.”

Noonan said that now the district has the numbers, they will drill down to the details.

“When I look deeper, I see 20-30 students who didn’t get to cross the stage after four years, who stuck with it as a fifth-year senior and got their diploma,” she said. “Just because someone doesn’t get through college in four years, it doesn’t mean they didn’t earn their degree. But these fifth-year diplomas aren’t counted with the state figures.”

She said that the district’s graduation rate of roughly 85 percent doesn’t mean the district has a drop-out rate of 15 percent.

She said not counted in the numbers are those students who obtain their high school equivalency.

“We know they are completers, they just didn’t get to fulfill the requirements for that diploma,” she said. Adjusted diplomas for students with disabilities are also not counted in the state numbers.

“We have around 4 percent of kids who have gone out somewhere,” she said. “They haven’t checked in or asked for their records, so we assume they’ve dropped out.”

This is third year the county’s graduation rate has been calculated using a new formula known as the adjusted cohort graduation rate. Before 2011, graduation rates were calculated by comparing the freshman and senior classes in the same year. Because in Nevada sophomores were counted as freshmen for the first half of their second year, the number was skewed lower statewide. Before the standardization with other states, Nevada’s graduation rate averaged around 50 percent.

The total shows an improvement over 2012’s 77 percent, and slightly better than 2011’s 83.6 percent.

Rates have been improving steadily since the implementation of the new formula statewide with schools climbing from 63.08 percent to 70.65 percent in 2013.

Eureka County had the highest graduation rate in the state with 95 percent, followed by Storey County with 87.88 percent.

Nevada’s State Charter School Authority had the lowest rate in the state with 46.28 percent, followed by Mineral County with a 51.52 percent graduation rate.

The state’s largest school district, Clark County, came at slightly better than the state average with 71.5 percent. Washoe County had a 72.62 percent graduation rate.

Statewide, the public high school graduation rate rose more than seven percentage points over the previous year — from 63.08 percent in 2012 to 70.65 percent in 2013. With this increase, Nevada schools graduated 1,113 additional students in 2013 than in 2012.

“I am very pleased that our graduation rate continues to increase,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Dale Erquiaga. “While Nevada’s graduation rate is still too low and we must direct more attention to certain student populations, we are improving. In order to encourage more students to stay in school, we must make high school relevant for all students and provide targeted support to students who need it most. As we continue to set high expectations, I know that Nevada’s students and educators can rise to the challenge when provided an opportunity to succeed.”


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 28, 2014 06:53PM Published Jan 30, 2014 03:55PM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.