District 191 high school students and staff have reason to celebrate, as graduation rates are up in all but one student category for 2015 in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191, according to data released by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) on Feb. 21.
“Graduating from high school is an important step in a student’s life, opening doors to higher education, a wider array of jobs, and better wages throughout their lifetime,” said MDE Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “Every percentage point, every increase, whether it’s one decimal point or double digits, represents another student who is graduating high school prepared for their next step in life.”
The goal set by the MDE is a statewide graduation rate of 90 percent.
In District 191, the overall four-year graduation rate increased from 82.6% in 2014 to 84.3% in 2015, while the state average was 81.9%.
The biggest increase in District 191 was with Asian/Pacific Islander students where the graduation rate rose from 76.3% in 2014 to 86.9% in 2015 — a jump of 10.3%. The state average is 82.7% for that student group. Increases also occurred in these student groups: Black, Hispanic, White, English Learners (EL), Free/Reduced Lunch (FRL), Male and Female. The only decrease was in the special education category.
“We’re encouraged that the systemic changes we’re making from preschool to grade 12 in our district are making a positive difference,” said Dr. Joe Gothard, District 191 Superintendent. “Graduation rates aren’t a result of what happens only at Burnsville High School — preparation for commencement success begins when a child enters our school system. I know our staff members at every level are focused on success for all students and working hard to ensure they are ready for graduation and beyond.”
Gothard believes that further boosts in graduation rates will result from changes coming to the district when Vision One91 is implemented beginning with the 2016-17 school year. Vision One91 is the work being done to redesign the district to meet the needs of today’s learners to ensure the district’s mission of “Each Student Real-World Ready.” For example, Vision One91 includes moving 9th graders to Burnsville High School so they have a comprehensive four-year high school experience focused on college and career readiness. Also, career pathways are being developed to help students explore their interests and find courses that will prepare them for further study, training or work. In addition, junior high schools are transforming to better meet the social-emotional- academic needs of students in grades 6-8.