Wyoming’s high school graduation remains steady but does have some outliers

The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) published Completion Statistics for the 2021-22 school year, which saw 81.8 percent of students statewide graduating from high school. That represents a slight 0.6 percent decrease in the state’s overall graduation rate from the 2020-21 school year, when 82.4 percent of students who were nine years old graduated from high school.

Fifteen of the 48 state schools Districts had graduation rates of 90 percent or more. Sheridan County School District #3 (Arvada-Clearmont), Sublette County School District #9 (Big Piney), and Washakie County School District #2 (Ten Sleep) all had 100 percent graduation rates.

“Graduation rates in Wyoming are over 80 percent [since the 2015-16 school year]said Megan Degenfelder, Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction. “The consistency and graduation rates are a true testament to Wyoming’s determination during the COVID-19 pandemic, the work of our teachers and the support we have. We remain proud of these results. There is still work to be done to improve, and the Wyoming Department of Education stands ready to continue to support districts in improving their graduation rates.”

Despite the slight drop in the graduation rate from the 2020/21 school year to the 2021/22 school year, there is hope that the long-term upward trend will continue and that a downward trend will not begin.

“If we look at that 6 percent drop, you’ll see that I think last year was a nine-year high, and so I would say the year-over-year rate was elevated,” Degenfelder said. “I would just draw on that consistency over time if you look [at] In the last few years, especially since 2015, this has really stayed constant.”

Students enrolled in a Career or Technical Education (CTE) program had higher graduation rates than students not enrolled in a program. Degenfelder said keeping individual learning at the forefront is a mission for her department.

However, there were discrepancies in student performance in some districts and schools. Additional attention needs to be paid to these schools in order to increase graduation rates. This included the Native American student population, whose graduation rate was 49.3 percent. Low-income students, such as those who qualified for free or discounted lunches, performed worse than their classmates at 68.4 percent. Students who were homeless also graduated with lower rates, with 57.1 percent receiving their high school diploma.

Specific plans and initiatives for students with higher needs include federal and state investments and opportunities for professional development and increased literacy in hopes of increasing future graduation rates.

“With Native American students in particular, we have a few things going on and then will try to really expand during my tenure, the first of which was to work with the governor to get COVID relief funds available to these populations , particularly in the area of ​​technology, where this has been lacking,” she said. “Second, we continue to offer an annual Native American education conference that provides career development and education to people in these districts. Finally, we are launching a literacy pilot program for our Native American school districts. And of course we know that third grade literacy rates are an indicator of future graduation rates.”

Degenfelder also listed other priorities that she would like to implement during her tenure as state leader.

“From early intervention, particularly literacy and support through school improvement plans, to increasing parental involvement to get government out of the way so our teachers can teach an expanded focus on the career path so students have a sense of purpose and future when it comes to their education and individualized learning that best suits their needs,” she said.

Wyoming has maintained a graduation rate of 80 percent or more since the 2015-16 school year. That’s an improvement from a decade ago, when 77.6 percent of students nationwide graduated from high school in the 2012-13 school year. National secondary school completion rates were in the Mid 80 percent Reach in recent years, with Wyoming scoring a few points less during that time.

The WDE calculated the graduation rates based on the federal government Four-year adjusted cohort methodology Established by the US Department of Education since the 2009-10 school year. All states must calculate graduation rates in the same way. According to this methodology, the students are counted in the four years, “punctual‘ if they earn a diploma by September 15 after the fourth year of their class. statistics on Graduated in fifth and sixth year Prices are also included.

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