While the state’s graduation rate jumped by more than 7 percent, Carson City’s rate dropped by about 3 percent, according to report released Monday by the Nevada Department of Education.
Richard Stokes, superintendent of the Carson City School District, said the district is still getting used to the new formula known as the adjusted cohort graduation rate, as required by the U.S. Department of Education.
He said a critical component to the new formula, which is in its third year in Nevada, is tracking students who move out of the district. Unless records are confirmed that the student is enrolled in a new school, that student is counted as a dropout.
“We need to do everything we can to follow up on students who say they are leaving our system and making sure they are enrolled in another system,” Stokes said. “We are hoping many of the great things that are happening in our school district (are) contributing positively to our students’ education.”
Statewide, the public high school graduation rate rose to 70.65 percent in 2013, up from 63.08 percent in 2012. With this increase, Nevada schools graduated 1,113 additional students in 2013 compared with 2012.
“I am very pleased that our graduation rate continues to increase,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Dale Erquiaga in a release. “While Nevada’s graduation rate is still too low, and we must direct more attention to certain student populations, we are improving.”
In Carson City, the graduation rate dipped from 80.99 percent in 2012 to 77.91 percent in 2013. Carson High School’s graduation rate was 88.08 percent in 2012, which fell to 84.31 percent in 2013. The district’s alternative high school, Pioneer, took an even bigger hit, dropping to 29.41 percent from 38.89 percent.
Because Pioneer is a small school, percentages are more dramatic, Stokes said.
“We’re happy we have Pioneer,” Stokes said. “It’s another method for students to finish their school. It’s also a high-risk population.”
Across the state, 12 school districts improved their graduation rates in 2013, including Douglas County, which rose to 84.96 percent, the third-highest in the state. Clark, Eureka, Nye and the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority increased their graduation rates by nearly 10 percentage points or more.
“In approximately two years, many Nevada schools have increased their graduation rates by nearly 10 percent,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement. “While this is not enough, it is a firm indication that Nevada is moving in the right direction.”
Based on the cohort graduation rate first calculated for the class of 2011, the rate of students receiving high school diplomas in Nevada has risen by 8.69 percentage points since 2011.
Stokes said the school district is working on increasing its graduation rates, but is not considering the drop in percentage a failure.
“We believe every student who walks across that stage at graduation is a huge triumph,” he said.