Tooele County Schools are graduating a larger percentage of their students than the state average, according to a Utah State Office of Education report released last week.
Tooele County School District’s 2012 graduation rate was 90 percent, up from 81 percent reported in 2011. The statewide district graduation rate for 2012 was 78 percent, according to the USOE 2012 graduation report.
Only five of the state’s 41 school districts had a graduation rate higher than 90 percent. The highest was the Rich School District, which graduated 38 of 40 students for 95 percent.
As for high school graduation rates, Dugway High School led the way in the state, graduating all 13 of its senior students. The only other high school in the state with a 100 percent graduation rate was Success Academy, a charter school in Cedar City. The school graduated 80 students.
Tooele High School had a graduation rate of 96 percent for 2012; Stansbury and Wendover High schools both had 93 percent; Grantsville High School had 89 percent; and Blue Peak High School had 77 percent.
Terry Linares, Tooele County School District superintendent, attributes the district’s high graduation rate to good record keeping and collaboration among faculty.
“We have a tremendous team at our high schools,” said Linares. “Accurately reporting graduation rates requires careful tracking by school staff of where students go when they leave school.”
Federal standards for reporting graduation rates requires schools to track every student from the time they start high school through the end of their senior year.
If a student leaves high school, and the district cannot provide documentation that shows the student transferred to another district, or is being home schooled, then they are counted as a dropout, according to Linares.
Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) have also contributed to the district’s high graduation rate. PLCs increase student performance by setting aside dedicated time for teachers to work collaboratively in groups to design creative approaches geared towards individual students and their needs.
“Our high schools are also doing a good job of monitoring credits, making sure students are on track for graduation,” said Linares.
For students at risk of not graduating, the district also offers programs to help students recapture lost credits through summer school and other opportunities during the school year.
To compare graduation rates for 2012 among Utah high schools, USOE uses a three-year rate that shows the percentage of students who started school in 2009, along with transfer students who enrolled between 2009 and 2012, that completed graduation requirements by September 30, 2012. The threeyear rate is used because half of Utah’s high schools are threeyear high schools.
When the graduation rate is calculated on a four-year basis using the number of students that started in ninth grade, the graduation rate for Tooele County high schools drops by one point to 89 percent.
Out of 880 possible graduates in 2012 Tooele County School District graduated 794 students. Seventy-seven students were classified as drop out, while eight students were classified as other completers or continuing students.
Other completers or continuing students include students that completed the General Education Development test, and students with disabilities that participated in an alternate assessment. It also includes students with disabilities who may enroll until the age of 22, and students who transferred to higher education without receiving a high school diploma, according to federal standards.