Humboldt County graduation rates increase 13 percent

Call it a kick in the teeth to the “failing public schools” stereotype.

Humbold County School District (HCSD) announced Wednesday that over 89 percent of HCSD’s class of 2016 graduated. This achievement far exceeds the goal set by the district in 2012 to surpass an 80 percent graduation rate by 2017.

HCSD Superintendent Jensen commented, “Today’s announcement demonstrates the hard work and dedication of the students, staff and community to ensure that every child is provided with a meaningful education.”

When this initiative began in 2012, HCSD’s graduation rate hovered at around 63 percent.

Both Lowry High School (LHS) and McDermitt Combined Schools have taken significant steps toward improving student achievement in the past several years. Teachers and administrators at both high schools, as well as Jensen and the school board looked long and hard at the high schools’ methods and cultures to identify and fix problem areas.

LHS Principal Ray Parks implemented a credit remediation program to help students catch up with their classmates and graduate on time. Credit-deficient students are pulled from their electives and off periods to work on making up credits online. 

Parks stated, “I was fortunate enough to have a high quality instructor – Marcel Johnson – who in conjunction with our high-achieving student aides that earned scholarships from the Humboldt Foundation, assisted these students and truly helped them to graduate on time.”

Johnson was nominated by the school board for the Nevada Association of School Boards’ award for School District Employee Making A Difference this year.

“We are proud of the growth that has been demonstrated, and the clear dedication of our teachers and administrators to achieve this level of success. With graduation being just one measure, we now begin to evaluate how well our students are prepared for post-secondary opportunities,” an HCSD press release read.

McDermitt High School has already begun focusing on life after graduation. An initiative aimed at college and career readiness spurred seniors to complete college applications at the beginning of the school year. Every McDermitt senior received at least one college acceptance letter.

Jensen remarked that while the removal of the High School Proficiency Exam as a requirement for graduation contributed to the increased graduation rates, “the greatest impact has come from our individual school sites in which outcomes are measured at the individual student level.”

The press release concluded, “As a district, HCSD is dedicated to doing everything possible to ensure that every student is supported and challenged throughout their educational career. We look forward to more amazing things to occur in the future.”