School district level report looks at college readiness
Local high schools and districts are getting a look at how 2012 graduates stacked up to state averages for college preparedness with the release of “District at a Glance” reports from the Colorado Department of Higher Education.
Roaring Fork School District fared slightly better than the state average across the board. College enrollment rates were nearly identical, with a stronger trend toward in-state schools from RFSD grads. College enrollment after graduation was nearly identical — 57.1 percent for the district and 57 percent even for the state. Compared with a state average of 79.9 percent, 83.4 percent of former RFSD students who enrolled in college completed their first year, with an average GPA of 2.82 to the state’s 2.72.
“This is really valuable data,” said Rob Stein, assistant superintendent. “We are doing as well as the state despite more challenging demographics, and that’s promising.”
Metrics include college enrollment, first-year retention, concurrent enrollment, remedial education and grade-point average.
Garfield School District Re-2 graduates lagged behind state averages. College enrollment was just 50.7 percent, of whom 72.1 percent completed their first year. Also, 52.2 percent of Re-2 grads required remediation, compared with 37 percent statewide.
Theresa Hamilton, director of districtwide services, said the numbers are somewhat misleading because they include data from online students. She also cited ongoing improvements that aren’t reflected in the data yet.
“As a district, we are working hard to ensure that our students are prepared for whatever their path is when they leave high school — college, trade school or career. We are always trying to improve, and we have some great community partnerships in place to support our kids,” said Hamilton. “We continue to work with Colorado Mountain College and Aspen Valley Community Foundation to reach our students and help them be prepared for college or career.”
Garfield School District 16 Superintendent Ken Haptonstall also believes his district will see major improvements in future reports.
“I really believe that with the sharp increase in student achievement in our high school, the current students will produce a much different data set,” Haptonstall said.
Only 38.1 percent of Garfield 16 graduates went on to college, although those who did averaged a strong 2.99 GPA. The 30.2 percent of students who had attempted concurrent enrollment courses was well above the 21.2 percent stage average, but the remedial rate of 61.9 was also well in excess.
Even if all three districts excel in next year’s report, more work will remain.
The Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce estimates that 74 percent of Colorado jobs will require education beyond high school, so beating the curve is just the first step.
“We’re meeting the benchmark, but we have a higher goal than that,” Stein said. “It’s going to take time. If it were easy, the state wouldn’t be where they are, and we wouldn’t be where we are. I would love to see more of a sense of urgency across the state and in our communities of how we tackle this problem collectively.”
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