DHS’s 2016 Grad Rate Continues to Exceed State and County Averages

Submitted by Denair High School

Denair High School long has been a leader among all Stanislaus County campuses when it comes to graduating its students. That trend continued with the Class of 2016.

Denair compiled a 97.1% graduation rate – 66 of its 68 seniors earned a diploma last spring. That compares with an 83.8% rate among all schools in Stanislaus County and 83.2% in California.

In the past seven years, graduation rates at Denair High have been as high as 100% (2010-11) and never lower than 93.7% (2013-14). By comparison, Stanislaus has fluctuated between 74.9% and 84.6% while  the state was as low as 74.7% as recently as 2010-11.

“Student graduation rates reflect the dedication of our community and schools to the education and success of our students,” said Aaron Rosander, superintendent of the Denair Unified School District. “We are proud as well of our teachers and staff who continue to raise the academic rigor that best prepares today’s students for their challenges that await them in college and their professional careers.”

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.

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 2016, DCA’s graduation rate was 72% (69 of 96 students), on par with its 75% graduation rate from 2015. 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.

“The challenge with our site is that an overwhelming amount of students at the high school level come to us already credit deficient. Therefore, our students have to take more credits than the average student to graduate on time,” said Principal Brian LaFountain. “While we may not have the graduation rate of some other high schools, DCA students are completing more courses in an average semester to make up those credit deficiencies.”

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