BRIGHTON — When it comes down to the numbers, School District 27J had more graduates and fewer drop-outs during the 2012-13 school year than the state average.
Numbers released by the Colorado Department of Education Thursday show the district’s high school graduation rates rose to 79.2 percent, their highest point in seven years, and drop-out rates reached their lowest point in at least four years at 1.8 percent.
A 27J press release said the district’s graduation rates remain the highest graduation rate among metro-area Adams County School districts for the fifth consecutive year and marked the district’s highest overall graduation rate since 2005.
“I’m proud of our students, our staff, our instructional leaders for the tremendous work they are accomplishing in the classroom,” 27J Superintendent Chris Fiedler said in a statement.“We continue to see positive results of our district’s clear, collaborative educational focus. With our continued instructional focus and a revitalized student intervention department committed to giving every student the opportunity to graduate, I believe our best work is still ahead of us.”
Each of the district’s high schools saw improvements in their graduation rates. Eagle View Academy’s graduation rate jumped 14.9 percent from last year to 92.7 percent in 2012-13, Brighton High School saw a 7.9 percent increase in graduation rates to 81.7 percent and Prairie View High School’s graduation rates increased 3.3 percent to 82.9 percent during the 2012-13 academic year.
The press release also pointed out that the number of Hispanic students graduating from the district overall increased from 62.6 percent in 2012 to 72.8 percent in 2013. The number of Hispanic males graduates increased from 54.3 percent in 2012 to 66.5 percent in 2013, marking the highest level of Hispanic male graduates since 2014. The number of Hispanic female graduates increased from 72.1 percent in 2012 to 79.4 percent in 2013, marking the highest level of Hispanic female graduates since 2005. The only decline among student demographics was a slight decrease in white male graduates from 78.5 percent in 2102 to 77.6 percent in 2013.
Data from the CDE shows that district dropout rates in 2013 were 0.70 percent lower than the state average of 2.5 percent. While Brighton High School and Prairie View High School saw decreases in their drop out rates – from 4.6 percent in 2012 to 2.4 percent 2013 and from 2.1 percent in 2012 to 1.8 percent in 2013, respectively – Eagle Ridge Academy saw a 0.3 percent increase to 0.6 percent in 2013. The increase was due to three students dropping out last year compared to one student dropping out in 2012.
The greatest improvements in the drop out rates were made by students in the Hispanic and White demographics.
The drop out rate for Hispanic students improved by 1 percent, with 2 percent of Hispanic students – or 67 students – dropping out this year compared with 92 Hispanic students dropping out last year. There were also fewer dropouts among male and female Hispanic students, with dropout rates among males decreasing 1.6 percent to 2.2 percent this year and dropout rates among females decreasing 0.2 percent to 1.9 percent in 2013.
The drop out rate for White students improved by 0.9 percent, with 1.6 percent of students – or 52 students – dropping out this year compared with 77 White students dropping out last year. Improvements in the dropout rates occurred in both male and female students, with the drop out rate decreasing by 1.3 percent to 1.8 percent for males and decreasing 0.5 percent to 1.3 percent for females.
District spokesman Kevin Denke cited several reasons for the improvements in dropout rates, including the district’s instructional focus on the “thinking classroom” model: the administration’s support of teachers towards improved instruction in every classroom; the commitment staff have toward establishing relationships with all students; and training for increased accuracy of data collections and improved records management.
He said ultimately this data means that more of the district’s high school students are staying in school and receiving their diploma, which is the objective of 27J.
“We are optimistic that the addition of Kevin West this year as our student intervention services director, his new perspective and the strong work his team in doing means we will likely continue to see our dropout rates continue to decline and graduation rates consequently rise in coming school years,” he said.