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More Colorado students are graduating from high school, even if it takes more time

Statewide, Colorado’s 81.1% graduation rate still leaves the state below the national average

Peyton High School student Curtis Taylor, right, logs in to a computer with a computer-aided design program Thursday, August 15, 2019 during a cabinet manufacturing class at the MiLL (Manufacturing Industry Learning Labs) National Training Center near the Colorado Springs airport. (Mark Reis, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Colorado graduation rates bumped up again in 2019 although districts posted more modest gains than before, and more of them saw decreases in the percent of students graduating in four years.

The Aurora school district was one of those. While the district’s large gains in recent years had helped it earn its way off the state’s watchlist for low performance, that trend stopped, according to the most recent data from 2019, released Tuesday. The class of 2019 had a graduation rate of 76.2%, slightly down from the previous class’s 76.5% rate.

The Englewood school district, which has the lowest graduation rates in the metro area, saw a significant decrease, with just 50.4% of its 2019 class graduating in four years, down from 52.5% previously.

At the same time, many schools and districts, including Aurora and Englewood, saw increases in the number of students graduating after more time — five, six or seven years. Dropout rates are also decreasing.

Statewide, Colorado’s 81.1% graduation rate still leaves the state below the national average.

Andy Tucker, the state’s director of post secondary and workforce readiness, said that the goal for students is “true” post secondary and workforce readiness, and said there is no downside to students taking longer if it means that they graduate prepared.

“Some students just need a little more time,” Tucker said. “It’s really about as simple as that.”

Read more at chalkbeat.org.