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State high school graduation rate holds steady. Here’s how Whatcom schools did

The Washington state superintendent’s office reported this week that 79.3 percent of all students in the class of 2017 graduated within four years of starting high school. That’s up slightly from 79.1 percent for the class of 2016.
The Washington state superintendent’s office reported this week that 79.3 percent of all students in the class of 2017 graduated within four years of starting high school. That’s up slightly from 79.1 percent for the class of 2016. The Bellingham Herald file

Washington’s four-year graduation rate for public high schools barely budged last year, but several groups of traditionally underserved students made higher than average gains.

The state superintendent’s office reported this week that 79.3 percent of all students in the class of 2017 graduated within four years of starting high school. That’s up slightly from 79.1 percent for the class of 2016.

In Whatcom County, districts with graduation rates above the statewide rate are:

  • Bellingham, 85.3 percent;
  • Ferndale, 80.3 percent;
  • Lynden, 88.7 percent,
  • and Nooksack Valley, 79.8 percent.

Local districts under the state rate are:

  • Blaine, 77.1 percent;
  • Lummi, 51.9 percent;
  • Meridian, 74.8 percent,
  • and Mount Baker, 63.7 percent.

Statewide, black, Latino, special-education and low-income students – who on average still trail the overall graduation rate – posted higher-than-average growth during the past two years. The graduation rate for black students, for example, rose from 70.7 percent in 2016 to 71.5 percent last year, while the graduation rate for students with special needs reached 59.4 percent in 2017, up from 58.1 percent the year before.

The nation’s high-school graduation rate was 84 percent for the 2015-16 school year, the most recent data available.

Broken down by gender, the statewide rate was 82.6 percent for females and 76.3 percent for males. Those rates are up slightly from 2016, when they were 82.4 percent and 76 percent, respectively.

Among racial subgroups, Asian students had the highest graduation rate at 87.5 percent, though that was down from 88.6 percent in 2016. The American Indian/Alaskan Native rate also declined, from 60.6 percent in 2016 to 60.3 percent last year.

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