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Despite obstacles, SVVSD graduation rate continues to rise

Graduation rates at St. Vrain Valley Schools have climbed over the past four years, according to data released Tuesday by the Colorado Department of Education.

The district has some of the highest graduation requirements in the state — at 24.5 credits — yet its 2022 graduation rate is 91.5%, compared to the statewide average of 82.3%.

“St. Vrain has the highest graduation requirements across the metro area,” said St. Vrain Superintendent Don Haddad. “It’s significantly harder to graduate from St. Vrain … our students and teachers are hitting it out of the park.”

The district’s 24.5 credits required to graduate include three years of science and math, whereas the Boulder Valley School District and others require two years of science and math. Boulder Valley requires 22 credits to graduate.

“Every district is allowed to establish their own graduation requirements,” Haddad said.

St. Vrain Valley Schools graduation rates:

  • 2022: 91.5%
  • 2021: 90.3%
  • 2020: 87.8%
  • 2019: 86.3%

“Not only are our students graduating at higher rates — a large number of our students are earning their associate’s degree through P-TECH at the same time as they’re earning their high school diploma, and a whole lot of students are earning their first year in college — credits through our advanced placement and our concurrent enrollment courses,” Haddad said.

Many students in the district are receiving two-year certifications during high school and heading straight into higher-paying jobs right after they graduate, he explained.

“Our students are graduating with a strong, competitive advantage over other students across the country,” Haddad said.

When the district’s Class of 2022 was in kindergarten in 2010, the graduation requirements were lower, yet the graduation rate was 76.5%, state data shows. The rate among Hispanic students was 55.9% a dozen years ago.

In 2022, the graduation rate for Hispanic students was 88.3% — up from 84% in 2021.

The district’s dropout rate increased from 0.7% in 2021 to 0.9% in 2022, the data shows. Among Hispanic students, the dropout rate went from 1.4% in 2021 to 1.6% in 2022. The dropout rate includes students who were expelled from school.

The statewide data includes an economically disadvantaged category — the graduation rates in the St. Vrain district have also climbed among those students:

  • 2022: 83.2%
  • 2021: 81.3%
  • 2020: 79.9%
  • 2019: 76.8%

The district has eight comprehensive high schools, and their average graduation rate is 92.4%.

“Just because it’s a 92.4% graduation rate, it doesn’t mean that the other 7.6% aren’t going to graduate, because our dropout rate is 0.9%, which means that 99.1% of the students will graduate, it just might take some 4.5 years to do it, or some 5 years,” Haddad explained.

The statewide graduation rate dropped for the first time in 10 years to 81.7%, but increased in 2022 to 82.3%.

(original article in The Longmont Reader by Amber Fisher)

Erie High School