Kentridge High School 2023 graduation at the accesso ShoWare Center. COURTESY FILE PHOTO, Kent School District

Kent School District graduation rates increase for 3rd consecutive year

Rate hits 90.7% in 2023; Kentwood High top rate at 95.6%

The four-year graduation rate for high schools in the Kent School District increased for the third consecutive year in 2023.

The district had a graduation rate of 90.7%, according to a December report released by the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The state’s overall graduation rate was 83.6%.

Kentwood had a graduation rate of 95.6%, Kentridge 92.0%, Kentlake 87.4% and Kent-Meridian 86.2%. Kent Laboratory Academy had a rate of 95.7% and Kent Virtual Academy 78.6%.

The district had graduation rates of 89.1% in 2022, 86.2% in 2021 and 87.8% in 2020. Those numbers are each up from the 79.7% rate in 2015.

“There are many factors that support the graduation rate including our amazing teaching, administrative and support staff,” according to an email statement from the Kent School District.

The district also listed some additional reasons for the higher rates:

• Over the last five years, the district has invested in data dashboards to progress monitor in real time and provide support to students when needed. The data dashboards help to identify patterns and trends, allowing the district to adjust strategies and provide targeted interventions and resources to help students succeed.

• Increasing the number of options to earn credits and alternative methods to recover missed credits could also be attributed to this increase. These additional options can help students stay on track and provide opportunities to gain skills and knowledge in innovative ways.

• 51.9% of students successfully completed their graduation pathways requirement through the Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway, showcasing the importance of these career-focused programs in preparing students for the workforce. The CTE pathway provides students access to learn college and career readiness skills aligned with state and national standards; academic subject matter taught with relevance to the real world; employable skills; and career pathways that link secondary and post-secondary education.

• The counselors of the Kent School District excel in providing personalized support to students in service of fulfilling graduation requirements.

“The district takes pride in its graduates and dedicated staff members who work tirelessly to ensure that students receive the quality education and essential skills they need to embark on successful career paths,” according to a district statement.

Looking at federal race/ethnicity numbers, Kent had the following graduation rates of Asian 94.1%, Black/African American 91.5%, white 89.6%, Hispanic/Latino 89.4% and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 79.0%. For two or more races that rate was 90.6%.

The district had a dropout rate of 6.8% in 2023 with students continuing at 2.6%, according to the state report.

By dropout rate, the numbers were Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 19.0%, white 8.3%, Hispanic/Latino 8.2%, two or more races 6.3%, Black/African American 5.6% and Asian 3.0%.

State graduation rates

Statewide, the graduation rate for the Class of 2023 reached 83.6%, an increase of 1.3 percentage points since 2022 and a record high in Washington state.

Over time, more Washington students have earned their high school diploma through more rigorous, advanced course-taking, according to the OSPI news release. Data from the Washington State Education Research and Data Center show an increasing trend in the rate of students enrolling in dual credit courses (as of 2022) —where students can earn both high school and university-level credit at the same time — and a decreasing trend in the rate of students who start college needing to take pre-college courses (as of 2021).

“Over the past five years, our Legislature has invested in more school counselors, expanded pathways to graduation aligned with student interests, and increased student access to rigorous coursework,” said State Superintendent Chris Reykdal. “At the same time, our schools have made enormous progress in transforming their offerings and services to center on student needs and interests. These efforts have all made a significant difference for our students.”

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