RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - A record number of Washoe County School District (WCSD) students earned their diplomas in 2018, as 3,980 students graduated from high school ready for college, highly-skilled careers, or the military, according to the district. The district reports its graduation rate is slightly above 84 percent—the highest in WCSD’s history.
The district says it also continues to narrow achievement gaps between "diverse subgroups of students," according to a release, and graduation rates are rising to record levels in the district among students receiving special education services and students receiving English language supports (EL).
“We are extremely proud of the efforts of each our graduates, and we congratulate them and their families and staff members who helped them to cross the graduation stage to receive their diploma,” says WCSD Board President Katy Simon Holland. “As a District, we are working to help all students succeed no matter what challenges they face. Behind each of our 3,980 graduates is a story of achievement, perseverance, and determination to succeed, and today we celebrate them and their academic accomplishments.”
“We have set an ambitious goal of ’90 by 20’—a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020—and I am confident we will achieve that goal,” says WCSD Superintendent Traci Davis. “The hard work continues at every grade level from Early Childhood Education through high school. Nearly 4,000 students earned their diploma this year, and that is a great accomplishment in our District. 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.”
Between 2015 and 2018, the district graduation rate rose nine percent, according to a release. WCSD is striving to reach a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020 as part of its “90 by 20” campaign, saying it is providing students with targeted supports and resources to help them overcome barriers and achieve academic success.
Six high schools posted graduation rates higher than 90 percent:
o Damonte Ranch High School – 96 percent
o Galena High School – 92 percent
o Incline High School – 98 percent
o McQueen High School – 94 percent
o Reed High School – 91 percent
o Reno High School – 94 percent
For the first time in district history, Innovations High School posted a 70 percent graduation rate, an increase of nine percentage points over 2017. Three other non-traditional high schools posted the following graduation rates:
o Academy of Arts, Careers & Technology – 100 percent
o North Star Online School – 100 percent
o TMCC High School – 99 percent
The graduation rate for students receiving English language supports (EL) rose six percentage points to reach 73 percent, according to the district. Students receiving special education services saw their graduation rate rise four percentage points to 63 percent. The graduation rate for Native American students rose nine percentage points to 80 percent. Each of these graduation rates represents a record high percentage in WCSD.
Some student subgroups, such as African American students, Asian American students, and multiracial students, did not see gains this year. The district says, "We will continue to ensure all students are provided with the adequate supports and opportunities to succeed and reach their graduation goals."
The district says in all, 49 percent of the Class of 2018 graduated at a higher level of achievement, setting students on a course toward college, highly-skilled careers, and the military. This represents an increase of two percentage points over 2017. A record of 42 students receiving special education services earned Honors and Advanced diplomas in the Class of 2018. Overall, the number of students earning Honors and Advanced diplomas rose in 2018 to 1,944 students—up from 1,850 in 2017.
“I want to express my profound gratitude to everyone in our District and our community who made this possible,” says Superintendent Davis. “It truly takes a community of caring people—teachers, administrators, and members of our support staff, parents and families—to help our students succeed, and we are fortunate to have such people working alongside us every day. Our students are succeeding at record levels, thanks to everyone who has dedicated their time and talents to help them achieve this goal.”