Area High School Graduation Rates Remains Steady

Wooster High School graduating seniors visit Vaughn Middle School on Friday, stressing the importance of education.
Wooster High School graduating seniors visit Vaughn Middle School, stressing the importance of education. Photo: Carla O’Day

High school graduation rates for the Washoe County School District’s class of 2018 inched up a fraction of a percentage point but stayed statistically steady from a year prior, according to data released Friday.

An 84-percent graduation rate countywide saw 3,980 students receiving high school diplomas—an increase of 65 students from a year earlier.

Graduation rates are defined for statistical purposes as the number of students who graduate in four years with standard, advanced or honors diplomas. Those who repeat a year don’t count in graduation figures but also aren’t counted as dropping out if they remained in school.

Academy for Arts, Careers and Technology and North Star Online School had 100 percent graduation rates. Innovations Alternative High School was the lowest at 70 percent, although its graduation rate was up 9 percentage points from 2017.

Graduation rates for other high schools were as follows:

  • Damonte Ranch 96%
  • Galena 92%
  • Hug 84%
  • Incline 98%
  • McQueen 94%
  • North Valleys 88%
  • Reed 91%
  • Reno 94%
  • Spanish Springs 88%
  • Sparks 86%
  • TMCC High 99%
  • Wooster 84%
Traci Davis
Dr. Traci Davis, Washoe County School District Superintendent.

The district has been promoting its “90 by ’20” goal as it aims to meet a 90 percent high school graduation rate by 2020. Superintendent Traci Davis said she’s confident the district will achieve that.

“The hard work continues at every grade level from early childhood education through high school,” Davis said. “Our various student populations are graduating at higher rates, so our achievement gaps continue to narrow. We are still on the road to that important goal, and we will get there.”

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While overall graduation data remained consistent, achievement gaps were closed this year in notable areas, Davis said. For example, graduation rates for English-language learners increased 6 percentage points from a year ago to 73 percent and the graduation rate for special education students rose 9 percentage points to 80 percent.

“When you think of where we were decades ago with special education, the graduation rate was consistently 30 percent, and this year it was a record-breaking 64 percent,” Davis said. “One of the things that came out last year was that people challenged it, saying we only graduated more special education kids because they didn’t have to test out, they have to take the end-of-course exams (in lieu of high school proficiency exams)…

“But here’s what’s interesting. This year, also, we increased the rigor of special education students graduating with honors and advanced diplomas by 121 percent. So if you think about the rigor of that, they have to be in classes just like other kids getting those diplomas.”

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Carla O'Day
About Carla O'Day 462 Articles
Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.