Washoe Grad Rates Up

RENO, NV -- More high-schoolers graduated this year in Washoe County than ever before. That was the key point in a series of announcements made Tuesday morning regarding Washoe County high schools.

A well-deserved round of applause Tuesday morning for Washoe County high schools.

"We now stand at a solid 72% graduation rate, the highest rate that we have ever had in our district," said Washoe Schools Superintendent Pedro Martinez as he addressed a crowded cafeteria at DaMonte Ranch High School.

It's a three-percent increase over last year and a vast improvement from 2009, when only 56% of students graduated.

"Just amazing work at the high school level and I'll tell you I am humbled enough just to represent them. But really the credit goes to our high schools, our teachers, our councilors," said Martinez

Also a highlight, 46% of graduates took A.P. classes. That's well above the state average and it means more kids are ready for college. But there is still a lot of work to be done; graduation rates are below the national average 77%.

"It's just not good enough; we are right in the middle. I want to be at 80. I know that is where the country is going," said Martinez.

Nevada's grad rates are the worst in the nation, due in part to schools having $2,000 less per student than the national average. But administrators are not using that as an excuse. They're coming up with new plans to do more with less. This year, community members will make home visits to 1200 students and their parents on the importance of graduation.

"We just want to make sure that they know that they can come to the school or go to the community so they can get the help that they need so they can make it to that final graduation," said Eric Beyem with the Washoe County School District.

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