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Local schools fare well compared to state graduation rates

 

Last updated 2/16/2021 at 4:17pm

Samantha Briggs

Lazarick Johnson celebrates his graduation from Discovery High School on June 12, 2020.

Graduation rates for the 2019-2020 school year in public schools and districts across the State of Colorado were released earlier in January by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 (to include graduates from Fountain-Fort Carson High School and Welte Education Center) exceeds the state in graduation rates at four, five, six and seven years of completion.

Widefield School District 3 has a total of three high schools considered in the data: Widefield High School, Mesa Ridge High School and Discovery High School. WSD3 was about 1 percentage point below the state average for the four-year rate, but exceeded the state's in all others.

Overall, the top two schools in the area for four-year graduation rates were Fountain-Fort Carson and Mesa Ridge.

The districts and state measure a four-year, on-time graduation rate for all incoming freshmen, to be consistent with cross-state comparisons. However, for a variety of reasons, students may require additional time to complete high school and thus may not graduate in four years. The five-, six- and seven-year graduation rates account for these students.

The comparison data against the state rates are as follows:

Four years after entering high school

o State Graduation Rate: 81.9%

o FFC8 Graduation Rate: 86.2%

o WSD3 Graduation Rate: 80.2%

Four-year rates for individual schools

o FFCHS: 89.7%

o Welte: 48.7%

o Mesa Ridge: 86.1%

o Widefield: 80.5%

o Discovery: 16.7%

Five years after entering high school

o State Graduation Rate: 85.1%

o FFC8 Graduation Rate: 91.6%

o WSD3 Graduation Rate: 86.6%

Six years after entering high school

o State Graduation Rate: 86.2%

o FFC8 Graduation Rate: 89.3%

o WSD3 Graduation Rate: 88.2%

Seven years after entering high school

o State Graduation Rate: 86.4%

o FFC8 Graduation Rate: 93.9%

o WSD3 Graduation Rate: 89.2%

The state and districts also evaluate graduation rates of special populations of students. Key areas of celebration include graduation rates by ethnicity.

For example, African American/Black students graduate at a higher rate in FFC8 than any other ethnicity in the district, at all four years of measurement. This data is also unique in that graduation rates of African American/Black students in FFC8 are the highest or among the highest in the state at all four years of measurement (of those districts with more than 40 students in this demographic). Some data for this cohort:

• Four years after entering high school – 91.4% graduation rate for FFC8 Black or African American students

• Five years after entering high school – 95.1%

• Six years after entering high school – 92.2%

• Seven years after entering high school – 98%

Another significant demographic is Hispanic students. In WSD3, for example, graduation rates are:

• Four years after entering high school – 78.3% graduation rate for WSD3 Hispanic students

• Five years after entering high school – 85.6%

• Six years after entering high school – 87%

• Seven years after entering high school – 89.9%

FFC8 also serves a significant population of students with disabilities (18%). These students in FFC8 outperformed their peers in the state for all four years of measurement and, in a few instances, these graduation rates also exceed state rates.

WSD3 falls slightly below the state average for four-year graduation rate in the disability category, coming in at 56.3 percent, but exceeds in five-, six- and seven-year categories.

Four years after entering high school (students with disabilities)

o State Graduation Rate: 61.8%

o FFC8 Graduation Rate: 64.3%

o WSD3 Graduation Rate: 56.3%

Five years after entering high school

o State Graduation Rate: 67.8%

o FFC8 Graduation Rate: 82.9%

o WSD3 Graduation Rate: 69.4%

Christy McGee

Students participate in Fountain-Fort Carson High School's in-person graduation on May 23, 2020.

Six years after entering high school

o State Graduation Rate: 71.9%

o FFC8 Graduation Rate: 76.5%

o WSD3 Graduation Rate: 79.4%

Seven years after entering high school

o State Graduation Rate: 76.3%

o FFC8 Graduation Rate: 89.1%

o WSD3 Graduation Rate: 77.6%

The full reports include data on numerous other demographics, from limited English speakers to homeless students.

Statewide, 1,812 out of 3,196 – or 56.7 percent – of students designated as homeless graduated in four years. In WSD3, four out of the six homeless students graduated in four years (66.7 percent). In FFC8, 35 out of 43 students marked homeless graduated in four years (81.4 percent).

 

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