Minnesota Department of Education Releases Graduation Data, includes Rochester Public Schools

Rochester Public Schools
Rochester Public Schools(KTTC)
Updated: Apr. 25, 2023 at 6:00 AM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – The Minnesota Department of Education has released graduation rate data for the class of 2022 and Rochester Public Schools saw its graduation rate go up.

The RPS graduation rate went up 2.1% from the previous year. The graduation rate for the state went up 0.2% between 2021 and 2022.

Black students’ graduation rates improved by 8.9%, Latino students’ increased by 2.8% and white students’ increased by 2.2%.

RPS Superintendent Kent Pekel issued a statement below:

“Throughout the school year last year, we focused on building relationships with all of our students, especially those from groups that struggled the most during the COVID-19 pandemic. I think this increase in Rochester’s graduation rate overall and especially the graduation rates of students from historically marginalized communities suggests that strategy paid off.”

While it’s difficult to nail down one cause for this increase, Superintendent Pekel says it may be because of the district’s recent emphasis on building relationships.

“When you think about what causes a kid to either leave school all together or just stay in school, but not get across the graduation stage on the four-year timeline, it’s the sense that nobody in my school would really miss me if I didn’t come tomorrow. That is huge in the sense that if I didn’t come tomorrow, Ms. Johnson would be wondering where I am. That is also huge,” he said.

The school district hopes to continue this upward trend by focusing on preparing students for post-secondary education and building out some early warning systems for students who may be at risk for dropping out.

“If a kid has poor attendance, has not earned a credit, a grade in a class, and has had some kind of behavioral problem. When those three things happen, we can predict with great accuracy that they are at risk for not graduating high school on time. We need systems that identify who those kids are so we can support them,” he said.

The state doesn’t track the graduation rates of Native American students, because there are too few of them account for a whole. However, RPS leaders tracked their own data and found that in 2022, all nine students who identified as American Indian graduated on time.