State charter school graduation rate lags behind CCSD, WCSD

By: - December 14, 2018 1:58 pm
high school graduates

Clark County School District photo.

high school graduates
CCSD file photo.

The Nevada Department of Education released graduation rates for the Class of 2018, and state-sponsored charter schools as a whole fared worse than traditional public school districts as a whole.

Nevada’s overall statewide graduation rate was 83.17 percent.

Clark County School District, which is by far the state’s largest district (320,000 students), had a graduation rate of 85.22 percent. Washoe County School District, the second largest district (64,000 students), had a graduation rate of 84.39 percent. The State Public Charter School Authority, which oversees the majority of the charter schools within the state, had a graduation rate of 70.03 percent.

If the charter authority were considered a district, it would be the state’s third largest. More than 42,000 students are enrolled at the schools it regulates, and the authority has said it wants to bump that number to 60,000 by 2020.

Only one Nevada school district performed worse: White Pine School District, with a graduation rate of 66.87 percent. That district has only two high schools, and their combined enrollment is less than 400 students.

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Graduation rates at individual schools within the charter school authority’s purview varied wildly, from 100 percent at Coral Academy Sandy Ridge, Nevada State High School Downtown (Las Vegas), and Oasis Academy to 36.36 percent at Argent Preparatory Academy. The charter school board shut down Argent Preparatory Academy, an online school based in Northern Nevada, earlier this year.

Three schools brought down the overall state-sponsored charter school graduation rate. Two — Argent and Nevada Connections Academy — are online schools. Nevada Connections has been in hot water with the charter school board for several years. The school’s 2018 graduation rate of 63.77 percent represents a significant increase over the previous year, which has a graduation rate of 44 percent.

SPCSA grad rates
2018 graduation rates for the State Public Charter School Authority.

Graduation rates at state-sponsored charter schools has increased over time. The Class of 2017 had a graduation rate of 65.28 percent. The latest graduation rate numbers represent a 4.75 percent increase over the previous year.

SPCSA over time
From a presentation by the State Public Charter School Authority to its board.

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April Corbin Girnus
April Corbin Girnus

April Corbin Girnus is an award-winning journalist with a decade of media experience. She has been a beat writer at Las Vegas Sun, a staff writer at LEO Weekly, web editor of Las Vegas Weekly and a blogger documenting North American bike share systems’ efforts to increase ridership in underserved communities. An occasional adjunct journalism professor, April steadfastly rejects the notion that journalism is a worthless major. Amid the Great Recession, she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She later earned an M.A. in media studies and a graduate certificate in media management from The New School for Public Engagement. A stickler about municipal boundary lines, April enjoys teaching people about unincorporated Clark County. She grew up in Sunrise Manor and currently resides in Paradise with her husband, two children and two mutts.