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Grad Rate Rises In Santa Fe

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The 2011 graduation rate for Santa Fe Public Schools students was 56.5 percent, according to the latest report from the state Public Education Department.

That means more than four out of 10 Santa Fe students are not graduating within four years of starting high school. And SFPS was below the statewide average graduation rate for 2011, 63 percent.

The good news is that Santa Fe’s 2011 rate — the latest available — is an improvement over SFPS’s 2010 numbers, despite a stricter accounting method now required by the federal government. The district rate in 2010 was 53.2 percent.

Capital High School’s graduation rate was 53.5 percent for 2011, up from 51.4 percent in 2010. Santa Fe High School’s 2011 rate was 64.1 percent compared to 63.2 percent the previous year.

The new, stricter graduation formula requires that students with special needs or who are pregnant or have been incarcerated to graduate in four years or be considered dropouts. New Mexico previously gave those groups an extra year. The numbers also now include locally-authorized charter schools.

Capital has struggled in recent years with graduation numbers of near 50 percent. Santa Fe school district officials on Friday pointed to significant improvements for a couple of important groups there — in 2010, 49.5 percent of Hispanic students graduated in four years but the rate went up to 54.3 percent in 2011, and the graduation rate for Capital’s English language learners increased from 52.2 percent to 59 percent.

“We have had an intense focus on these two particular areas,” Capital principal Melanie Romero said.

The male graduation rate at Capital also increased by 7 percent, but rates went down in other subgroups such as Caucasian, economically disadvantaged and students with disabilities.

At Santa Fe High, Hispanic graduation rates increased from 61.1 percent in 2010 to 65.6 percent in 2011. The graduation rate for economically disadvantaged fell by about 6 percent at the school.

Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez, in a news release, said she was happy to see the uptick in graduation rates, particularly those for Hispanic and English-as-a-second-language students. But she said he was concerned about declines for other student categories.

Other graduation rates for Santa Fe schools include:
• Academy for Technology and the Classics charter school, 63.7 percent.
• Monte del Sol charter school, 70.8 percent.
• Tierra Encantada charter school, 20.8 percent.
• Academy at Larragoite alternative school, 36.4 percent.

The Santa Fe district’s five-year graduation rate increased from 53.2 percent to 59.9 percent in the latest numbers.

Española was at or near the bottom among all districts statewide with a graduation rate of 45.2 percent. Only 38.3 percent of male students graduated within four years.

A breakdown of graduation rates by district, school and student groups is available at http://state.nm.us/Graduation/index.html on the PED website.

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