The Colorado Department of Education recently released graduation and dropout data from the 2018-19 school year, and rates exceeded the state average at Montezuma-Cortez High School and in the Mancos and Dolores school districts.
At Montezuma-Cortez High School, the four-year graduation rate was 84.1% and the seven-year graduation rate was 92.4%, according to a statement released by Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1.
And according to the CDE website, the district as a whole – which includes M-CHS and the Southwest Open School, an alternative high school – saw a four-year graduation rate of 73.7%, up from 70.5% rate the previous year.
“As you know, our district-as-a-whole graduation rate is always a little bit lower because it combines both schools,” assistant superintendent Carol Mehesy said at Re-1’s January school board meeting.
The four-year graduation rate for the Dolores School District Re-4A was 89.5% and for Mancos School District Re-6 was 100%, according to the CDE. The state average was 81.1%.
Rates in Dolores and Mancos districts also increased from the 2017-18 school year: The four-year graduation rate for Dolores was 85.4%; for Mancos, 88.9%.
Mancos Superintendent Brian Hanson said the Re-6 district was pleased with its graduation rate, but he cautioned against attributing too much to one year’s results.
“More importantly, it’s what the trend is, and our trend has always been high graduation rates,” he told The Journal. “And I think it just goes to the program that we offer, the support that we offer, and being able to individualize with kids and do whatever is needed to get them across that finish line.”
Dolores Superintendent Lis Richard said Re-4A hopes to push the graduation rates higher.
“We are pleased to see the graduation rate go up over the past year,” she said. “It is our continued desire to see it go higher while we work to offer more in our high school.”
Re-1 also released other graduation-related data. At M-CHS, the four-year graduation rate for Native American students increased from 54.3% in 2016-17 to 75.6% in 2018-19, and SWOS achieved a six-year graduation rate of 44.9%.
“A key goal of our district strategic plan is ensuring all students graduate ready for college and career,” Re-1 Superintendent Lori Haukeness said in a news release. “We’re proud that M-CHS met our district strategic plan goal, exceeded statewide graduation rates, and continues to improve graduation and dropout rates among our Native American students. This means that the majority of our students are staying in school and ultimately walking across our graduation stage ready to achieve their goals for the future regardless of whether they choose college or career.”
Dropout rates in Re-1 decreased across the board, the district said. The overall M-CHS dropout rate fell from 3.4% in 2017-18 to 2.6% in 2018-19 – exceeding the district strategic plan goal of 3%, according to Re-1.
The dropout rate for Native American students dropped from 7.8% in 2016-17 to 3% in 2018-19, and the SWOS rate went down to 10.8%, an 8% decrease from the previous year.
“We’re seeing these outcomes for our students, thanks in large part to the efforts of our dedicated teachers and staff,” said M-CHS Principal Eric Chandler. “Our goal is to prepare our students with the skills they need to reach for their dreams. Our teachers and counselors are helping students figure out their passions and decide on a focus in high school that will put them on a pathway to a successful future.”