Roaring Fork Schools graduation rate above state average; dropout rate improves |

Roaring Fork Schools graduation rate above state average; dropout rate improves

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
The Glenwood Springs High School class of 2019 poses for a class photo prior to the graduation ceremony.
Glenwood Springs Post Independent file photo

The graduation rate for Roaring Fork School District high schools fell slightly in 2019 compared to the previous year, but still exceeds the state average by a significant margin.

According to statewide graduation rate statistics released last week by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), district high schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt had a 86.9% four-year graduation rate last year — down from 87.7% for the 2017-18 school year.

The state average for the 2018-19 school year was 81.1% — a decline from 84.9% the previous year.

Major subgroups of students in Roaring Fork Schools — white (Anglo), Latino/Hispanic, male and female — are all graduating at higher rates than their statewide peers, according to the annual report. 

“Our graduation rates continue to give us cause for celebration … and are a very important indicator of school success,” Roaring Fork Schools Superintendent Rob Stein said in a news release.

“Especially when we look at demographic subgroups, we are seeing that Roaring Fork students are more likely to graduate from high school than similar peers across the state,” he said. “This is due to our schools’ efforts in supporting students with academic and attendance issues that get in the way and making our schools welcoming places where students feel they belong.”

There is some year-over-year fluctuation within the different subgroups, and Anglo students continue to graduate at a higher rate than their Hispanic/Latino peers.

According to the report, 80.4% of Hispanic/Latino students graduated on time last year, compared to a 94.3% graduation rate for Anglo students.

The graduation rate for Hispanic/Latino students in Roaring Fork Schools remains somewhat higher than the statewide average of 74% within that subgroup of students. The statewide graduation rate for Anglo students is 85.9%.

Female students in the district are also graduating at a higher rate (88.9%) than their male peers (85.2%). While Anglo male and female students are graduating at about the same rate, Latina students are more likely to graduate (83.5%) than their male peers (77.7%).

CDE also released dropout rates for 2019. The Roaring Fork Schools are on par with the state, at a 2% dropout rate. That’s an improvement from the prior year when the district had a 2.5% dropout rate. 

Stein urged caution in reading too much into slight variations from year to year in either the graduation or dropout rates.

“What we want to see is strong and improving performance over time,” he said in the release. “And that looks like it’s happening.”