Routt County graduation rates remain high in 2015

Routt County graduation rates remain high in 2015

Routt County graduation rates remain high in 2015

By Teresa Ristow – Sunday, January 24, 2016 — Steamboat Pilot & Today Newspaper

Steamboat Springs — Nearly 94 percent of Hayden High School seniors graduated on time last June, the highest graduation rate of any school in Routt County.

The Colorado Department of Education on Thursday released its annual graduation rate report, revealing the state’s 2015 graduation rate — 78.8 percent — and breaking down rates for each school and district across the state.

In Hayden, 31 of 33 seniors at the small high school graduated on time in 2015, compared with 27 of 28 in 2014.

New District Superintendent Phil Kasper said that the district’s small size can be a good thing when it comes to keeping tabs on student progress towards graduation.

 “Small schools work a little bit differently,” Kasper said. “We have lots of stability in our community and our moms and dads know out staff, so there’s better communication that goes on. Those bonds are a little bit tighter than in a big school system.”

In South Routt, another small, rural district, 25 of 29 seniors, or about 86 percent graduated on time last year, up from 18 of 22 students, or 82 percent the prior year.

District staff in South Routt noted last year that students who transfer out of the district or begin homeschooling are counted among those who didn’t graduate, which can be misleading and actually mean a higher true graduation rate for districts.

New Soroco High School Principal Lyn McCarty said online courses have helped the school not only offer a wider variety of electives than can be offered in person, but also allow students that fall behind an option for credit recovery.

McCarty said students work with staff to put together a four-year plan during their freshman year.

 “I think that our staff works pretty closely with our kids. We know them very well,” McCarty said. “We notice when a student fails, and we provide intervention or help.”

McCarty also said that being a small district makes it more difficult for students to fall through the cracks.

 “Every student and every family is pretty connected with us,” McCarty said.

In Routt County’s largest district, the Steamboat Springs School District, an average of 89.5 percent of students graduated on time, or 154 of 172 students districtwide.

Students in Steamboat are split between Steamboat Springs High School and the small, alternative Yampa Valley High School.

At SSHS, 150 of 165 seniors graduated on time in 2015, or about 91 percent. In 2014, 157 of 163 seniors graduated on time, or about 96 percent.

At YVHS, four of seven seniors graduated in 2015, or 57 percent. In 2014, six of 16 seniors graduated on time, or 37.5 percent.

Steamboat Springs High School Principal Kevin Taulman said he felt confident in the consistently high graduation rate at the school.

 “Overall I think we’re happy with the graduation rate,” Taulman said. “It’s been consistent, and what you’re looking for is consistency.”

Taulman said that four-year planning with students when they begin high school and a new first-generation college students program with the counseling department are two efforts helping to keep the graduation rate high.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.comor follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow


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