by Mike Knaak
The latest four-year high school graduation rate data shows Sartell High School outperforming districts statewide as well as surrounding schools.
Sartell’s 2018 graduation rate of 98.2 percent improved slightly from 96.6 percent in 2017.
The Minnesota Department of Education released numbers for all schools on April 23. The statewide rate of 83.2 percent was the highest on record.
“I’m really proud of what our high school and our whole district does so that all kids get a chance to graduate,” Superintendent Jeff Schwiebert said. “They do it by taking care of each kid one-on-one.”
Neighboring districts also posted strong scores, led by Albany with 96.9 percent, Holdingford at 93.0 percent and Sauk Rapids-Rice at 89.9 percent.
“That says an awful lot about Central Minnesota,” Schwiebert said. “We want our kids to have the chance to go on. Our parents and communities support our kids.”
St. Cloud’s two public high schools did not score as well with Tech’s rate at 79.9 percent and Apollo at 77.4 percent.
Schwiebert said he’s sometimes asked why there’s a graduation party for seniors because “we expect everyone to graduate.”
“We want to reward them,” he said.
Sartell’s rate has ranged in the mid to high 90s for the last five years.
“We do a lot of things very well,” the superintendent said. “It’s a constant struggle in a positive way to keep that level of expectations. We keep working hard to make things go well or they will go away. It’s been a long tradition of making sure our kids do well with parents and community support.”
The Department of Education reported that statewide rates increased for all racial/ethnic groups as well as English learners, students receiving special education services and students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals.
The gap between white and and nonwhite students reduced by 15 percent since 2014.
The U.S. Department of Education approved the state’s plan for increasing graduation rates, which set a goal of 90 percent of Minnesota’s students graduating in four years by 2020.