grads line up (copy)

Waseca graduates line the halls before the start of the 2019 commencement. Four year graduation rates in Waseca have stayed steady in the last few years. (file photo)

Waseca County Schools four-year graduation rates are ahead of the state’s rates.

Stated on the Minnesota Report Card, Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva and Waseca Senior high schools all increased graduation rates in 2019.

The statewide four-year graduation rate for 2019 is 83.7 percent. The statewide goal for 2020 is that 90% of students graduate within four years with no student group below 85%.

JWP saw an increased graduation rate from 90.6 percent in 2018 to 95.2 percent in 2019. This is an all-time high for JWP since the state began using the adjusted cohort calculation now required by federal law, according to a press release from JWP Superintendent Kurt Stumpf.

JWP graduating class (copy)

The JWP class of 2019. (File photo)

“I’m proud today of the students, teachers and families in the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton School District who continue to prepare well-rounded citizens to thrive in whatever pathway they choose after high school — college or career,” Stumpf said in the press release. “The increase in the graduation rate is one of many indicators of the success students are having in the JWP School District.

“Moving forward, we will continue preparing every child for their future with not only high academic standards, but also the skills outlined in our Graduate Profile: Critical Thinker, Creator, Collaborator, Communicator and Global Citizen.”

According to the MRC, NRHEG increased its graduation rate from 81.3 percent in 2018 to 91.2 percent in 2019.

Though it seems like a large jump from one year to the next in four-year graduation rates, the 2018 rate was about 6 percent lower than what it should have been due to an error according to the district Superintendent Dale Carlson. There were three students who were counted as not graduating incorrectly and the Minnesota Department of Education did not adjust the error.

“While we are encouraged with the increased graduation rate, we also acknowledge that we are not satisfied and know we can do better as we work toward all students graduating as stated in our World’s Best Workforce Plan,” Carlson said. “Our target across all cohorts is 95 percent or higher with the ultimate goal of 100 percent of all students graduating.

“We are in our second year of implementing a ‘credit recovery system’ and are seeing encouraging results. The program is an opportunity for students needing to earn credits to maintain grade level status to do so during the summer as well as during the school year. The high school is also in its second year of implementing the REACH program that provides additional support and interventions for students and we are seeing encouraging results.”

Carlson went on to speak of how as a small school, they know that even one or two students can have a significant impact on the four year graduation rate and is why they find it so important to closely monitor each student’s progress. He also stated that the district is proud of the quality education the students currently receive with the district continually examining how to improve the teaching and learning practices.

The Waseca School District and the Waseca Secondary graduation rates for 2019 are two different numbers due to the Alternative Learning Center students counting in the four-year rate.

The district graduation rate for 2019 is 86.8 percent.

“Our four-year graduation rates have remained flat the last few years,” Waseca School District Superintendent Tom Lee said. “The high school gets rates around 95 percent while the District (including ALC) are in the low to mid-80 percentages. Remember, we provide the ALC to over 60 plus students including students from NRHEG, JWP, WEM and Waseca, few of whom are on track to graduate on time.”

Students who leave the high school for the ALC program count against the four-year graduation rate even if the student finishes the summer after their four years. This can bring down the four-year rate that MRC lists.

The Waseca high school four year graduation rate for 2019 is 92.4 percent.

Calculating four-year rates

Minnesota calculates a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate as required by federal law. This rate is the number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma, divided by the number of students who form the adjusted cohort for the graduating class according to the JWP press release.

Adjusted cohort rate is defined as from the beginning of ninth grade, students who are entering that grade for the first time form a cohort that is subsequently adjusted by adding any students who transfer into the cohort during the next three years, and subtracting any students who transfer out.

Reach Reporter Bailey Grubish at 507-837-5451 or follow her on Twitter @wcnbailey. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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