Following two years of significant increases in graduation rates for students in the Washoe County School District, the rate leveled out in 2012. The District's graduation rate dipped slightly to 69% in 2012, down from 70% in 2011.
In the class of 2011, 3,114 students graduated out of 4,455. In the class of 2012, 3,117 students graduated out of 4,509.
"We are making strong efforts to help every student graduate, and, as we continue on this path, we know there will be ups and downs," said Superintendent Pedro Martinez. "Our goal is to help all students graduate from high school, ready for college and highly-skilled careers. We have also pledged to be transparent with the community and to have crucial conversations about what further efforts will be necessary to accomplish that goal. It will take years of work by all of us—the District, our community, and our state—to confront these challenges and succeed."
"WCSD teachers, principals, and staff have worked very hard during the past few years to increase the graduation rate, and their efforts led to significant growth," said Ken Grein, president of the Board of Trustees. "While the graduation rate stabilized this year, the 2012 data still shows progress and future opportunities for advancement. By working as a team, I know we can see continuous progress by taking hold of those opportunities."
Martinez said although the 2012 figures show a slight drop in graduation rates, there is also reason for optimism:
At Wooster High School, where graduation rates rose 16 percentage points, from 59% to 75%, principal Leah Keuscher credits a number of innovative programs and strong support from the community for the impressive gains.
"We are thankful for invaluable programs such as Gear up, the High School Graduation Initiative Grant, International Baccalaureate, Reengagement centers, and parent outreach groups," Keuscher said. "They have allowed us to create before, during, after school, and weekend programs to tailor support for each student and their individual needs. Additionally, the generous support from our Partner in Education (The El Dorado Hotel Casino), our Wooster Alumni, and our parent Boosters are all big reasons for our successes at Wooster."
Martinez also acknowledged that many challenges remain. Graduation rates fell for some populations including Black, Pacific Islander, and Multiracial students, while rates fell at several high schools that had seen gains in the past.
"This is about breaking barriers that are standing in our way," Martinez said. "Everyone has worked very hard to achieve the results we've seen so far, but we need to adopt more sophisticated and advanced approaches to achieve further, meaningful successes for our students. We have our work cut out for us, and we are ready for the challenge."
From the Washoe County School District