Duluth School District has C Average Grad Rates

By KBJR News 1

May 31, 2013 Updated May 31, 2013 at 9:26 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - ISD 709 has a C average when it comes to graduation rates.

"Overall the Duluth Schools have a graduation rate of 67 percent, but there is a lot that goes into that number that people might not know about," said Bill Gronseth, Superintendent of Duluth Public Schools.

Minnesota Department of Education has set the bar to have all high schools achieve a 90 percent on time graduation rate by 2020. This means students graduating with in four years.

The school district says one factor affecting graduation rates is poverty, which is causing an achievement gap in the school district.

"Imagine trying to do your homework on the bus or waiting in line for food at the Damiano center or just out on the streets," said Matt Morrow, the Youth Specialist at Life House.

The achievement gap refers to students who have encountered some barriers such as poverty or special needs and may take more than four years to graduate high school.

The school district is shining a light on ALC and Unity schools, which have a 24 percent graduation rate.

"Some of the kids at the alternative sites may have had some challenges that they have encountered along the way, and they may need a little extra time to graduate," said Gronseth.

Another contributing factor to the achievement gap is not being able to keep track of students filtering in and out of the school system.

For the students who are present, school officials say high schools are scoring well.

Graduation rates for East are about 90 percent while Denfeld comes in at 84 percent.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.