Carson City School District’s graduation rate increased from 84.04% in 2020 to 85.71% in 2021, the district’s data revealed last week.
Carson High and Pioneer High schools saw declines in their rates, with Carson dropping from 93.12% to 88.7% and Pioneer lowering from 78.26% to 74.58%.
Carson Adult Education, however, rose significantly from 30.26% to 50% with students transferring over from the high schools, according to Tasha Fuson, associate superintendent of educational services.
“Sometimes it’s a better program for our students, for instance, who might have a need to attend night classes,” especially for those with extenuating or special family circumstances, Fuson said in a presentation to the district’s Board of Trustees on Nov. 9.
Overall, there were 528 graduates with 88 non-graduates with 145 who transferred out.
Statewide, the graduation rate dropped from 82.57% to 81.31%, the fifth consecutive year it has remained above 80%, the Nevada Department of Education reported Wednesday. Thirteen of the 17 districts fared better than 81.31% overall, and Career and Technical Education students also achieved well at 91.72%. Overall, the class of 2021 in the state totaled 30,479.
While there has been some rebounding this past year after returning to classrooms, Fuson told the Appeal on Monday she hopes the district won’t lose its current momentum overturning any learning loss students experienced. She alluded to extended opportunities for all students in K-12 and families who are supportive of the district’s offerings.
“The kids were, for the most part, in a hybrid situation, and we got them back in seat,” she said. “They’ve written graduation plans for all the students where credit deficiencies need to be made up and guide our kids in the right direction.”
While high school students took on added responsibilities during the pandemic, often taking on jobs outside the home, Fuson said she hoped to see a return to traditional academics in the months ahead. She also hopes to see more students enroll in college- and career-ready courses. College endorsements at Carson High for 2020-21 dropped slightly to 100 from 118 in the previous year, and career endorsements also fell to 99 from 121.
“The big question is how long do we need to recuperate from COVID?” she said. “Some estimates say it’s going to be two, three, four years to get back on track. I don’t think that’s going to be the case. We’re seeing kids are quite resilient.”
Summer school has been one advantage in helping students make up credits, Fuson said, with about 266 high schoolers who made up for deficiencies at a 93.3% completion rate.
The district has offered more afterschool programming at elementary and middle schools, and she added even if non-graduates one year don’t make it across the stage, inevitably they will.
“We are paying close attention,” she said. “We do have a strong adult education program, and Sam Santillo, our director, he gets those kids engaged and gets those kids graduated. It might take those kids five years instead of four, but the vast majority come back and they still graduate.”