Districts see high school graduation rates improve

School District 27J rate rises to highest point in 7 years

Courtesy photo
Graduates at Brighton High School listen to commencement speakers during their graduation in May last year. Graduation rates statewide were released and School District 27J saw an increase, pushing itself past the state average.

Graduation rates have improved statewide, and area school districts also experienced increases in its rates in 2013 over the previous year.

The Colorado Department of Education released graduation rates for 2013 and according to its data, the state average of students graduating on time rose to 76.9 percent in 2013 from 75.4 percent in 2012.

Although Adams 12 Five Star Schools and Mapleton Public Schools saw increases in its rates, it did not exceed the state’s average. D12’s rate increased from 69.9 percent in 2012 to 73.7 percent in 2013. Mapleton’s rate increased from 42.5 percent in 2012 to 47.8 percent in 2013.

School District 27J surpassed the state’s average, coming in at 79.2 percent, an increase from its 71.5 percent standing in 2012.

“I’m proud of our students, our staff and our instructional leaders for the tremendous work they are accomplishing in the classroom,” said Chris Fiedler, D27J’s superintendent. “We continue to see the positive results of our district’s clear, collaborative educational focus. With our continued instructional focus and a revitalized student intervention department committed to giving every student the opportunity to graduate, I believe our best work is still ahead of us.”

Brighton High School’s graduation rate rose from 73.8 percent in 2012 to 81.7 percent in 2013. Prairie View High School’s graduation rate increased from 79.6 percent in 2012 to 82.9 percent in 2013. The graduation rate at district charter school Eagle Ridge Academy increased from 77.8 percent in 2012 to 92.7 percent in 2013.

In its newsletter about the grad rates, District 12 officials focused on the grad rate that did not include its charter schools. That rate stood at 80.1 percent in 2013. The districts rates have increased over the last three years.

“We believe this improvement is a result of our collective efforts to create multiple pathways for student learning and a more individualized approach to helping our students graduate on time and prepare for post-secondary opportunities,” said Superintendent Chris Gdowski. “I believe our efforts to intervene earlier when there are initial signs a student is getting off track academically and our success in connecting students with multiple learning options will continue to add to our schools’ ability to help even more students graduate.”

There are five traditional high schools in District 12, and their rates are as follows: Horizon High School at 93.1 percent, Legacy High School at 91.3 percent, Mountain Range High School at 85.7 percent, Northglenn High School at 79.3 percent and Thornton High School at 82.1 percent.

Charlotte Ciancio, superintendent at Mapleton, also pointed out the district’s rates without the incorporation of New America School (which is no longer chartered by Mapleton) and its online school Colorado Connections Academy was higher at 62.3 percent. This is an increase from 58.2 percent in 2012.

“Mapleton has shown small but positive gains in all areas over the past several years, from state assessments to ACT scores, and now our graduation rate,” she said. “We know that there is still work to be done, and are continuing our ongoing strategies for improvement.

The individual schools did see gains in the district, as well. York International School’s 2013 graduation rate was 80.5 percent, up almost 20 percent from 2012. Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts (MESA) was at 81 percent graduation rate, and the remaining high schools were in the 60-70 percent range.