In Wyoming, females more likely to complete high school

2014-06-03T06:00:00Z 2014-06-03T08:26:03Z In Wyoming, females more likely to complete high schoolBy LEAH TODD Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

High school graduation rates in Wyoming fell again this year, like they have for the past four.

Several trends among the state's high school graduation rate include:

  • Females are more likely to graduate from high school than their male peers. 
  • The graduation rate among Native American students in Wyoming, 42 percent, is at its lowest point in four years.
  • Asian and Pacific Islander students continue to be the state's smallest but highest-performing minority groups, graduating at 88 percent and 84 percent last year.
  • Students speaking English as a second language graduated at a greater rate last year than the year before.

For Natrona County, the overall trend is improvement over the past decade, where graduation rates have increased from 63 percent in 2003 to 74 percent in 2013, according to information provided by the district. Graduation rates here have slipped in recent years, however, from a district high of 77 percent in 2008.

Mark Mathern, Natrona County School District associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said the district has hit a plateau in recent years.

But he thinks the long-term increase in graduation rates reflects the increasing importance a high school diploma holds in the workforce.

"One thing this is telling us is the role that diplomas play in our society and in our economy," Mathern said. "High school diplomas are just essential to moving forward on any economic level or any societal level." 

Changes to attendance policy, such as requiring students to stay in school until age 18 rather than 16, like state law currently says, may spark minor improvements to the graduation rate. But any major change in the district's graduation rates must involve a significant shift in the way schools approach high school, he said.

"If we’re going to make a marked increase, we are going to have to shift our thinking about our definition of engagement," Mathern said.

The district must improve its concept of real-world problems and how to make those a daily process in the high school system, he said. That's the goal of the district's upcoming switch to an academy-based learning system, where high school students can select one of several career-based academies to participate in throughout their high school career. The academies will involve job shadowing and specific course sequencing that will encourage students to go beyond an introductory-level understanding of a subject, the district has said.

Reach education reporter Leah Todd at 307-266-0592 or Follow her on Twitter @leahktodd.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(22) Comments

  1. My progressive heroes should run every facet of life for everyone since they can do no wrong
    Report Abuse
    My progressive heroes should run every facet of life for everyone since they can do no wrong - June 06, 2014 1:48 pm
    OldWyomingFarmer, cite your sources. Maybe you count social awkwardness as the inability to text and walk.
  2. KT72013
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    KT72013 - June 04, 2014 4:17 pm
    Birth control is a good start! Some people just shouldn't have children, especially when they didn't want them and have zero interest in helping their children be successful.
  3. Put your Faith in Science
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    Put your Faith in Science - June 04, 2014 3:35 pm
    No Farmer, the bottom line is that it is people like you who tease and make fun of people, and then try to convince them that it is there own fault after for becoming depressed and socially awkward after being mistreated, that is ultimately responsible for creating a culture of socially awkward people who are afraid of dealing with people. It is not that they are lazy, it is that they just don't want to put up with arrogant hypocrites who turn people into loners by teasing them and making them feel depressed. Without people like you in this country, not only would more people be working, but more people would actually be in a career and have a job that they actually enjoy. I have been picked on in school, and all I looked forward to in school was the end of the day when I could go home, be by myself, and enjoy not having to put up with people who hate you. I did okay in school, but I developed a deep distrust and dislike for people in general. People such as yourself OldWyomingFarmer, are directly responsible for helping to turn people into welfare charity cases. Words can hurt, and can turn people into socially awkward losers, who don't have the self-confidence, motivation, work-ethic, or drive to think about what to do with their own lives. People like you are the problem for trying to pin the blame on the victims, and not the people who are actually at fault. We should take personal responsibility for our lives huh? I think people like you should take your own advice, and exercise some "personal responsibility" by being nicer and more encouraging towards people. You would see as a result, that more people (especially younger generations) start to come out of their shells, and start to become hardworking contributing members to society. No more of this "it's your own fault"/"survival of the fittest" nonsense.
  4. Hill Town Trader
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    Hill Town Trader - June 04, 2014 1:29 pm
    To success children need BOTH home schooling and social schooling.

    Inclusion and common core focus heavily on teach the same thing to all students, which means that to excel or to meet the needs of smart kids, parents absolutely must supplement and direct their children's education. Parents depending on public schools will end up with average kids.

    Teachers are bored with math facts, spelling, grammar, state capitals; they want to play with conceptual thinking, a worthy goal, but not enough. But to succeed, student need to have basic skills in hand - so it falls to the parents.

    Success for students requires both the consepual teaching of the public schools and the skills and facts of home schooling.
  5. OldWyomingFarmer
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    OldWyomingFarmer - June 04, 2014 9:31 am
    TBA, homeschooling really? You have not look at any results for home schooled students. They are behind very behind in math in science. When homeschooled students enter the public schools they are a hot mess. Not to mention they are very socially awkward.
  6. OldWyomingFarmer
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    OldWyomingFarmer - June 04, 2014 9:26 am
    Really, put your faith in science. The bottom line is parents and students. It is people like you that create a culture of laziness.
  7. hialy
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    hialy - June 04, 2014 9:01 am
    Females? Is that short-hand for young women? Where did this reporter learn to write?
  8. Hill Town Trader
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    Hill Town Trader - June 04, 2014 8:33 am
    How do we change that culture?
  9. Hill Town Trader
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    Hill Town Trader - June 04, 2014 8:30 am
    Most Parents, like students, will rise to expectations if they know what the expectations are. Schools, with little cost, could do more to set parent norms.

    My daughter's early years were spent in a town with a top school system in a top state. At age three and age four we received a letter, advising of a mandatory meeting for parents; in a kind and gentle way, the kindergarten teacher laid down expectation and outlined skills, vocabulary and math concepts that every child should have under their belt before Kindergarten ("you don't want your child to be at a disadvantage, do you? the other children will have these skills in hand" guilt, guilt, guilt), and we were handed a skills inventory. Parents will do more if they know what to do.

    Library story hours (available to meet any schedule) were implied as mandatory as well. Librarians modeled skills teaching as well as reading stories. At story hour, one could sign up neighborhood play groups, to foster peer to peer expectation re-enforcement. That school system had the parents trained and marching before the kids even hit their first day of school.

    Schools should not be asking parents to be involved - they should tell them. Be kind but firm. It doesn't take big programs or a lot of money. It just takes will.
  10. KT72013
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    KT72013 - June 04, 2014 8:14 am
    People like you keep making excuses as to why parents don't do what is needed for their children. Yes, I know - some people are poor and homeless and what not. BUT for the VAST majority, parents can MAKE their children go to school and give (here's one not used much these days) CONSEQUENCES for not succeeding.

    Oh, and I am not your self-centered religious self-righteous person - I am an Atheist Liberal - and still believe that parents need to do better and stop making excuses.
  11. Hill Town Trader
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    Hill Town Trader - June 04, 2014 8:10 am
    Parents really are the key.

    I find it curious that parents seem to push girls to graduate, but no so much the boys.
  12. KT72013
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    KT72013 - June 04, 2014 7:56 am
    I completely agree! I was supposed to be in education - kudos to you for sticking with it. I learned in my student teaching that parents are doing absolutely nothing to help their children succeed and instead were putting it all on the teachers. Yet, the parents still complain when something isn't done right, or their child isn't getting "enough." My brother has been an educator for about 6 years. It is like pulling teeth to try and get the parents involved enough to maybe tell their child to do homework.

    Parents need to pull their heads out and start being parents. Stop worrying about "my time" and start worrying about your children. Stop passing the buck and letting everyone else deal with your children. You CHOSE to have them - yes it really is a choice now - take care of them!
  13. The Dude Abides
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    The Dude Abides - June 04, 2014 7:39 am
    The other reality about Wyoming is that once a kid (especially a male) hits 18, they can make $80K a year in the oilfield, the gas patch, or a coal mine. With Wyoming's low unemployment rate, it's pretty easy to get by without a high school diploma...for now, anyway.
  14. WyoCamper
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    WyoCamper - June 03, 2014 4:38 pm
    I have been in education for almost ten years, and what makes the difference are the parents! Hands down! When there is no reinforcement from home to achieve goals set by mentors/educators, why should a teenaged child care about graduating? Don't dare blame the education system when the family system is setting the student up to fail. Get involved in your child's education, encourage them to learn a trade. Either way, reinforce the idea of becoming a contributing member to society. Don't just accept the idea that if parents send their child to school that they are going to pass. Would you send your child to a job and EXPECT them to get a paycheck for not meeting the employer's goals?
  15. griz
    Report Abuse
    griz - June 03, 2014 4:23 pm
    Kumbya my lord, Kumbyaaaaa
  16. klosternSM
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    klosternSM - June 03, 2014 11:18 am
    But, in Wyoming knowledge is just as good as ignorance right?
  17. Put your Faith in Science
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    Put your Faith in Science - June 03, 2014 10:10 am
    1C. People like you, because it is more complicated than just believing that the student was being lazy or whatever. We live in a conservative state, and that means we live in a state that is full of all kinds of self-centered religious self-righteous people. Hard work is important, but it is not the most important thing that determines if someone becomes successful. Treating people with kindness, and not making-fun of them or putting them down because of their beliefs will go farther in motivating people to succeed. Helping teach people who don't have as much experience or knowledge at getting into the workforce, will go farther at encouraging people find the motivation to succeed more than just abandoning them, calling them worthless, and leaving them to fend for themselves. Unfortunately, a lot of kids (especially those who grow up on farms) think it is okay to bully and make fun of people to the point where they become social outcasts. Their parents drill it into their heads that hard work is the only thing that matters, and the rational is that those kids who didn't grow up on farms haven't worked as hard and therefore don't deserve to be treated with kindness or respect. This attitude to me is the real problem not only in this state, but in all the conservative states in general. We can expect to continue to see bad things happen all over this country, unless people drop the narcissistic attitudes, and start being nicer to other people.
  18. Put your Faith in Science
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    Put your Faith in Science - June 03, 2014 9:55 am
    Agreed. There are a lot of bad people in this state who seem to think that it is okay for kids to pick on other kids, and turn them into social outcasts. I have actually heard people say, that it is okay to make-fun of people, and that we make too much emphasis on caring whether or not people have high self-esteem. Self-esteem does matter, and if you are picked on and made-fun of to the point where you become a loner and a social outcast, then you have no life or future in this heartless conservative regime state. People just don't care, and for that reason I also couldn't care less if they are forced to pay higher taxes because of Obamacare or increased EPA regulations on coal-fired power plants.
  19. TBA
    Report Abuse
    TBA - June 03, 2014 9:17 am
    Home schooling is still the best way to teach a kid, public schools are nothing but a social joke anymore.
  20. Report Abuse
    - June 03, 2014 7:59 am
    Though I agree with both of the statements made earlier, the way graduation rates are figured is a misrepresentation of who does and does not graduate. If a student moves and does not request a transcript from the school in which he left, at the end of the year in which he was to graduate, it is recorded as a not graduating. If special ed students are also figured into this and often it takes them one or two years longer. For instance, the graduation rates at both NC and KW are very close to 80% this past year, 2013. If a senior class has 400 students, that would mean that 80 students did not graduate. If you check both high schools you will find those not graduating is somewhere between 5-15. That certainly is higher than 80%. Schools get a bad rap, when it is the way the state dept. figures graduation rates. Our schools are better than they appear.
  21. OldWyomingFarmer
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    OldWyomingFarmer - June 03, 2014 7:31 am
    Let's put the correct blame on this t
    1A Parents- You hold the kings to the kingdom. You are the number one reason to blame if your kids don't graduate.

    1B The Student- you were to lazy to do it. Get it over it it was your fault

  22. Cowboy Joe
    Report Abuse
    Cowboy Joe - June 03, 2014 6:34 am
    Kids whose parents value education graduate high school, the others don't. This is a condemnation of our overall state as much as it is our schools and educational system.
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