County’s grad rates above 90%

By: 
Alexis Barker

Alexis Barker

NLJ News Editor

 

Both Weston County School District No. 1 and Weston County School District No. 7 saw graduation rates above 90% for the 2020-21 school year, according to a press release dated Jan. 19 from the Wyoming Department of Education. In addition to both local school districts, 15 others across the state achieved graduation rates above 90%. 

According to the release, Upton’s school district (No.  7) achieved a 94.7% graduation rate. With this rate, the district is ranked sixth in the state, following Sheridan County School District No. 3 at 100%, Washakie County School District No. 2 at 100%, Teton County School District No. 1 at 97.6%, Sublette County School District No. 9 at 95% and Lincoln County School District No. 1 at 94.7%. 

The Newcastle school district (No. 1) was able to narrowly cinch its spot in the top 17 with a graduation rate of 90.2%. Other counties in the top 17 include Park County No. 1 at 94.2%, Sublette County No.  1 at 94.1%, Converse County No. 2 at 94%, Big Horn County No. 3 at 92.9%, Uinta County School District No. 4 at 92.5%, Fremont County School District No. 6 at 92.3%, Platte County School District No. 2 at 92.3%, Carbon County School District No. 2 at 91.9%, Fremont County School District No. 24 at 91.7% and Uinta County School District No. 6 at 90.5%. 

Statewide, Wyoming high school graduation rates increased to 82.4% in 2020-21, up from 82.3% the previous year. This is the eighth consecutive year of increases statewide, beginning in 2013 when 77.6% of students graduated on time. 

According to Superintendent Brad LaCroix, of the Newcastle district, higher graduation rates are a win-win for the students and the community. 

“Students can then get on with their life and choices and the community receives a young person that can work,” he said. 

The Department of Education has been calculating graduation rates using the federal four-year adjusted cohort methodology established by the U.S. Department of Education since 2010. Using that methodology, the state was complying  with federal laws requiring states to calculate graduation rates in the same way. 

According to Newcastle High School Principal Bryce Hoffman, the rate is calculated using cohorts. He explained that students are placed in cohorts when they are promoted to ninth grade. 

“Students may exit that graduation cohort in one of three ways. Those ways are by graduating on time, graduating not on time or by being removed from the cohort,” he said. “A student who graduates not on time will be figured into the five-year or six-year graduation rate calculation. Each of those would be reported in the fifth or sixth year after the original cohort graduated.” 

He noted that the Education Department states that the cohort system gives a “more complete picture of student outcomes.” 

“It would be the hope of the district that as each five-year and six-year graduation is posted, that we see those percentages climb higher as we pick up a few more graduates,” Hoffman said. 

To calculate the on-time graduation rate, the total number of students in each cohort is compared with the number that graduated on time. The percentage of students who graduate on time out of the cohort are presented as the district’s graduation rate for a given year. 

For a student to be removed from a cohort without graduation, Hoffman said, they would have to transfer to another school or to a homeschool curriculum in which they can earn a diploma, move out of the country or pass away. 

 

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