Carson City, Lyon grad rates above state average

While the rest of the state’s graduation pace stayed relatively flat, Carson City School District’s high school rate increased slightly for 2013-2014. The graduation rate for Carson and Pioneer high schools was 77.87 percent in 2013-2014, the Nevada Department of Education reported on Friday.

That basically placed Carson near the bottom of the top half of schools in the state when it came to graduation rates. Of the state’s 16 county school districts, plus charter schools and university schools, there were about half with graduation rates near 78 percent or higher and then a drop off with the other half closer to 70 percent and lower. The state’s overall graduation rate was 70 percent.

That’s a slight decrease from 70.65 percent in 2012-2013, but higher than the state’s grad rate of 62 percent in 2010-2011. Carson’s rate increased over the 75.87 percent it had in 2012-2013, but was lower than the 81 percent it had in 2010-2011.

Carson City Schools Superintendent Richard Stokes said steps are in place designed for continued overall increase in the graduation rate.

“We are doing a number of things within the two schools and it’s helping to take us in the right direction,” Stokes said. “We have added a number of steps and programs within our two schools.”

Stokes said it’s difficult to set specific goals for graduation rates. “There are so many variables in any assessment, that it’s a pretty challenging calculation,” he said.

He spoke about one of those variables as the class of 2017 not having to take the high school proficiency exam, so graduation rates that year should “tick up.”

Steps in place to improve graduation rates, Stokes said, include a program that helps students make up classes, online programs, and improved data to better keep track of students falling behind. He also said there’s a program in place for teachers to immediately identify students who are struggling in their classroom.

University schools for high achieving students, including the University of Nevada’s Davidson Academy, had a 100 percent graduation rate. Charter schools, which include Carson City’s Silver State High School, had the lowest rate of 54 percent, but that was almost twice the rate of just less than 28 percent they had in 2010-2011.

Among the 16 county school districts, Storey had the highest rate at 93.10 percent and Douglas was second at 88.12 percent. Carson ranked eighth out of the 16 county districts. Right above Carson was Lyon County, which had a 78.58 graduation rate.

The rate is calculated using a formula known as the adjusted cohort graduation rate as required by the U.S. Department of Education.

“Although the overall rate is essentially flat, I am pleased to see that many Nevada schools and districts continue to demonstrate significant increases in their graduation rates,” state Superintendent Dale Erquiaga said. “Despite these gains in many districts and schools, certain student populations and schools continue to struggle.”

Among individual subgroups, English Language Learners saw the biggest improvement and posted a 4 percentage point gain from the year earlier. But their graduation rates remain among the lowest in the state, at 28.6 percent.

Other findings about specific subgroups:

The graduation rate for males was 66.6 percent, much lower than the 73.6 percent rate for females.

The Hispanic student graduation rate ticked up just slightly, from 64.4 percent to 64.6 percent.

Black students in the Class of 2014 posted a graduation rate of 53.9 percent, down from 56.7 percent a year earlier.

The Asian student graduation rate was 84.3 percent, up from 82 percent in 2013.

White students graduated at a rate of 76.9 percent, down from 77.2 percent in 2013.

Students in career and technical education programs had a 76 percent graduation rate, significantly down from 87.9 percent the year earlier.

Nevada has long had one of the nation’s lowest graduation rates. Erquiaga said he applauded Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval’s recent proposal to target more funding to struggling sub-groups, like English Language Learners and children from low-income families.

“I am confident that these efforts, if approved by Nevada legislators, will help Nevada’s graduation rate improve,” Erquiaga said in a statement.


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