Denair High School’s 2015 Graduation Rate Again Exceeds State and County Averages

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Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Denair High School continued to perform well above the state and county averages in graduating its students, according to statistics released last month by the California Department of Education.

In 2015, 76 of 81 seniors graduated from Denair High, a rate of 93.8%. That compares to a statewide average of 82.3% and a Stanislaus County graduation rate of 85%.

“Student graduation rates reflect the dedication of our community and schools to the education and success of our students. No child left behind is not a platitude or vacant slogan at Denair schools but, rather, a practice and commitment to our students,” said Aaron Rosander, superintendent of the Denair Unified School District.

Denair has long been one of the high-achieving high schools in the county when measured by graduation rates and student performance. The rate was 93.7% (74 of 79) in 2014, 98.7% (75 of 76) in 2013, 98.8% (84 of 85) in 2012 and 100% (74 of 74) in 2011.

Many of Denair’s graduates attended public and private universities in California, while others have been accepted at prestigious colleges out of state.

College attendance is emphasized and encouraged at all grade levels, there are college application workshops, presentations from schools from the UC and CSU systems, and Denair High School’s counselor works with students and their families on enrollment, grant and scholarship applications.

“Going to college improves students’ job opportunities,” said Cherie Gresham, the counselor and college advisor at Denair High School.

She does four-year plans with every freshman to map out college options and help select the right classes to prepare students. She encourages sophomores and juniors to sign up for PSAT tests in the fall,  proctors SAT tests for juniors and seniors, and organizes exams in the spring to determine if students taking Advanced Placement courses qualify for college credit. Outside Gresham’s office is a wall of information about universities, scholarship opportunities, checklists and testing options. Many Denair teachers also integrate college-related activities into their classes.

“The culture here is very pro-college. I have freshmen and sophomores who are asking me what they need to do,” Gresham explained. “Our graduation requirements mirror the majority of the UC and CSU requirements.”

The district’s overall graduation numbers also include those students at Denair Charter Academy, which provides comprehensive independent learning opportunities for at-risk teens, those who have struggled in a traditional setting or others who prefer an alternative to mainstream public education.

In 2015, DCA’s graduation rate improved to 75% (81 of 108 students) from 62.3% (76 of 122 students) in 2014. Last year’s number does not reflect the seniors who did not graduate in the spring, but still were enrolled in DCA as they pursue their diplomas. The school also doesn’t get credit for students who get their educational careers back on track at DCA and then return to their original campuses to graduate.

“Graduation rates for DCA are on the rise,” said Principal Dawn Allen. “The numbers put out do not reflect our returning students who are fifth-year seniors.  This year, we have approximately 13 students who will be returning to complete needed credits for their high school diploma.

“We are continuing to add courses. Our hope is to have the full continuum of options at DCA.  This will enable our students to continue on to trade school, community college and four-year college options.”

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