Douglas graduation rate highest in three years | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Douglas graduation rate highest in three years

Kurt Hildebrand
khildebrand@recordcourier.com

STATELINE, Nev. — Nearly 93 percent of the students attending Douglas County’s two mainstream high schools graduated in 2018.

Douglas High School had a 92.97 percent graduation rate, while 92.5 percent of Whittell High School’s student body graduated.

“We are doing well and numbers are back on the rise,” Superintendent Teri White said. “Our staff and administrators have been working very hard to ensure that every student has the opportunity to earn a diploma.”

The rate is the second highest in the past half-dozen years. The district’s best graduation rate was 90.61 for the class of 2015.

The district had an overall graduation rate of 88.77 percent in 2018, in part due to the decreasing graduation rate at the ASPIRE Academy, where 21 of 39 students received a regular diploma with a graduation rate approaching 54 percent.

“ASPIRE is a different situation because many students arrive there with credit deficiencies,” White said. “Sometimes, we can get them back to complete their diploma in a fifth year, but that does not count toward the calculation and many of the ASPIRE students will earn an Adult Diploma or take their equivalency exam.”

Districtwide there were 28 dropouts, 18 of whom are listed as “whereabouts unknown.” One student quit school to take a job while another was permanently expelled. Five completed their senior year but didn’t graduate and three took a high school equivalency test.

“The formula is a little tricky because it does not count special education students who earn an Adjusted Diploma, it does not count students who earn their high school equivalency, and it does not count students who come back for a fifth year to finish,” White said.

On the other side of the spectrum, 110 students earned advanced degrees while another 68 earned honors degrees. In all, 403 students graduated from the district in 2018.

All those students took the ACT college readiness test. Nevada is one of 17 states that require all their graduates to take the test.

While Douglas students exceeded the average for Nevada, they lagged slightly behind the other states that require full participation.

Only 22 percent of the Douglas Class of 2018 met the college readiness benchmarks for biology, lagging the 29 percent for other states that require the test.

The class did much better in English where 48 percent of students met the readiness benchmark, which exceeds the 44 percent of students who received advanced or honors degrees.

Average ACT scores dropped across the state in 2016 when Nevada started requiring all graduates to take the test. Prior to that, only students who intended to go to college took the test.

In contrast, only 98 Douglas students took the SAT college entrance exam, with 93 percent meeting the reading and writing readiness benchmark and 69 percent hitting the math benchmark.