Wyoming’s four-year high school graduation rate saw a slight increase last year, according to data released Monday by the Wyoming Department of Education.
In the 2014-2015 school year, 79.4 percent of Wyoming high schoolers graduated on time. That’s up from 78.6 percent the previous year, but the state still trails the most recent record-high national average of 82 percent.
Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow says the state will be able to make more progress at improving its graduation rate in the years ahead—under the new federal education law called the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced No Child Left Behind.
“We’ll focus more on the low-performing schools than we have in the past,” says Balow. “We’ll be able also to be able to pay particular attention to the subgroups that are not meeting the graduation rates at the same pace as the rest of the subgroups.”
The new federal law requires states to identify and assist high schools with graduation rates below 67 percent. In Wyoming, those include several alternative schools, schools on the Wind River Reservation and schools that operate statewide virtual learning programs.
Some of those ‘subgroups’ with particularly low graduation rates include homeless students—with a 50 percent graduation rate and Native American students—with a 45 percent graduate rate.
Balow says she thinks the state could someday reach a graduation rate of 100 percent.
“We do have high schools in the state—sizeable high schools, not high schools with 5 or 6 kids graduating—that have 100 percent graduation rates,” says Balow. “So we know it can be done, and we know that some of those kids that are graduating are at-risk students that see the value of education. We want all kids to see that value.”
Seven Wyoming high schools had 100 percent graduation rates last year. View rates for your community’s school, school district and the whole state at the Wyoming Department of Education’s website.