Janesville schools top state averages in graduation rate

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Nick Crow
Thursday, May 8, 2014

JANESVILLE — The Janesville School District last year outpaced state averages in the percentage of four-year graduates and graduation rates by economically disadvantaged and minority students, according to certified data released Thursday by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

“We're excited about it," said Yolanda Cargile, director of at-risk and multicultural programs. "It feels good to know the work put in is paying off and students benefit from it."

The class of 2013 had an 88 percent graduation rate statewide, up from 87.5 percent in 2011-12 and 85.7 percent in 2010-11, according to the data.

In Janesville, both Craig and Parker high schools were above the state average. Craig graduated 95.1 percent of students, while Parker graduated 91.8 percent. The overall graduation average for students in the district was 89.2 percent, according to the data.

Janesville Virtual Academy, one of the district's charter schools, graduated 69.2 percent and TAGOS Leadership Academy graduated 92.3 percent, according to the data. Rock River Charter School was incorrectly listed as graduating 12.2 percent, said Cargile. She said the number shouldn't have been counted because students there are given a Craig or a Parker diploma and are included in those school's graduation rates each year.

According to statewide data, graduation rates have risen statewide in each of the past three years. Minority scores are also up but are well behind graduation rates for white students.

In the district, we are ecstatic about the increase we have seen in graduation rates among black or African American and Hispanic/Latino students over the last four years," Cargile said. "Graduation rates have improved by 8.9 percentage points for black or African American students from 2009-2010 to 2012-2013 school years. Graduation rates for Hispanic/Latino students have improved by 15 percentage points from 2009-2010 to 2012-2013 school years."

In Janesville, 79.4 percent of black students completed high school in four years. That number rose to 83.1 percent of Hispanics. Statewide, just 64.8 percent of black students and 74.3 percent of Hispanics graduated in four years, according to the data.

White students in Janesville graduated 90.6 percent of the time. Statewide that number was 92.4 percent, according to the data.

Those numbers were an improvement from last year both in Janesville and statewide. In 2011-12, Janesville graduated 89.4 percent of white students, 71.9 percent of Hispanic students and 61.3 percent of black students, according to the data.

Statewide, 92.2 percent of white students graduated in 2011-12, 74.3 percent of Hispanic students and 62.7 percent of black students, according to the data.

More economically disadvantaged students graduated in four years in 2012-13 in both Janesville and statewide than the year before. Janesville graduated 79.3 percent, while the state averaged 76.6 percent, according to the data.

In 2011-12, Janesville had 76.5 percent of economically disadvantaged students graduate in four years. That number was 74.9 percent statewide last year, according to the data.

“Through the hard work of teachers, school staff members, parents and the students themselves, we are making progress to improve graduation rates for all students," said Tony Evers, state superintendent, in a written statement.

Cargile said the district will continue to strive to improve the graduation rate among its students.

"It's a constant improvement," Cargile said. "We're never satisfied. We always want to improve and give our students the best. We have a continued focus and attention on student achievement."

According to the Associated Press, a recent report by the National Center for Education Statistics showed Wisconsin's graduation rate for 2012 tied for second-highest nationwide alongside Nebraska, Texas and Vermont. Iowa was tops at 89 percent, according to the report.

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