Denver Public Schools have increased a four-year "on-time" graduation rate, posting a 4.3-point gain and graduating 175 more students last spring over the previous year, according to data released recently by the Colorado Department of Education. This brings the district's four-year rate from 51.8% to 56.1%.
Coupled with last year's 5.4-point gain, DPS's four-year graduation rate has increased by nearly 10 points, which means about 400 more students have graduated from high school on time in the past two years.
"This is very encouraging news for our community, and a testament to the work of our students, teachers, and school leaders," DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg said. “Nevertheless, there's still much more improvement needed. We need to make sure that the number of our graduates continues to climb."
Last year, the CDE revised the graduation-rate calculation, including in the calculation only those students who graduated "on time"--within four years of entering high school.
The district's 10-point increase over two years is the fastest rate of growth of any of the 20 largest school districts in Colorado.
DPS also has a significant number of students who graduate in five years instead of four years. Many Denver high school students are on a designed five-year program that includes concurrent enrollment in college-level classes or additional support in English fluency. When accounting for students who took an extra year to graduate, the five-year graduation rate is 58.5%. For non-alternative high schools only, the five-year rate is 75.4%.
In all, eight DPS non-alternative high schools showed improvements of more than 5 percentage points in their on-time rates. Most striking were the dramatic improvements at Abraham Lincoln High School, which increased its graduation rate by 11.7 percentage points, up to 63.5%. Over the past two years, Lincoln has increased the number of its four-year graduates from 151 students to 299 students. In addition, each in their second year of graduating classes, both Bruce Randolph 6-12 School and Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College posted strong graduation rates for the second year in a row - 87.1% and 91.5% respectively.
Alternative schools in DPS posted a 13 percent increase in the number of students who graduated or completed high school within five years. DPS has a greater percent of students in alternative school (intensive and multiple pathways) settings than any other metro district.
In the past two years,
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