Minnesota’s four-year graduation rate dips slightly in 2021

The Minnesota Department of Education released graduation rate data for the class of 2021 Wednesday.
Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 10:19 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 30, 2022 at 9:45 PM CDT
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WASECA, Minn. (KEYC) — The Minnesota Department of Education released graduation rate data for the class of 2021 Wednesday.

The graduation rate for the class of 2021 averaged 83.3%, which represents a decrease of 0.5 percentage points in the four-year graduation rate compared to the class of 2020.

For many districts, graduation rates are impacted by Area Learning Centers (ALCs) and their students’ diverse graduation plans.

Waseca Public School is one example.

Waseca Junior and Senior High School’s four-year graduation rate alone is around 93.1%.

The graduation rate of the Area Learning Center is 28.6%, but those numbers are due to many students not being on a four-year graduation plan.

District Name2021 Four-Year Graduation Rate (District Rate)
Mankato Area Public Schools86.26%
New Ulm Public Schools92.25%
Fairmont Area Public Schools88.79%
Waseca Public Schools80.11%
Blue Earth Area Public Schools86.90%
Windom Public Schools98.65%
St. Peter Public Schools91.05%
St. James Public Schools83.33%

“They might be on a different plan, so it’s not always realistic for them to graduate in four years. So at that building, in particular, we tend to look at a four, five, six, seven-year graduation rate, just to help them reach that graduation in whatever time works best for them,” said Brooke McGuire, director of teaching and learning at Waseca Public Schools.

The average graduation rate at Waseca Public Schools is 80.1%, which includes data from Waseca Senior High School and the ALC.

“Not every school district has an ALC within their district, and when it comes to graduation rates, all those students and where they are in their path toward graduation impacts our overall graduation rate,” said Dr. Jason Miller, principal at Waseca Junior and Senior High School.

Those percentages reflect four-year graduates who graduate at the conclusion of the standard school year. Yet many of them graduate later in the summer or years following.

“We are all incredibly proud of the students, regardless of whether they are graduating in a four-year time or whether it is in seven. We do not know some of those backstories, the data doesn’t provide some of those stories behind those numbers,” McGuire said.

The 2020-21 school year was the first full school year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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