School crossing

Despite the pandemic throwing schools for a loop at the end of last year, Wyoming’s high schoolers still found their way through high school’s final hoops.

In the 2019-20 school year, the state’s overall high school graduation rate rose, this time to 82.3%. This is the seventh consecutive year the graduation rate has increased.

“It’s always good to be trending in the right direction, and it’s especially good this year,” state Superintendent Jillian Balow said on a call with reporters last Tuesday.

Eighteen of Wyoming’s 48 school districts posted graduation rates better than 90%, including Teton County School District No. 1. Local seniors graduated at a 93.6% clip, a very similar number to last year’s 94% rate.

The Wyoming Department of Education uses the federal Four-Year Adjusted Cohort Methodology from the U.S. Department of Education to calculate its graduation rate, as federal law requires it to do. The numbers published last week reflect the percentage of seniors who graduated “on-time,” or in four years.

The department also publishes five- and six-year graduation rates, though naturally it will be up to two years before those numbers are finalized for the Class of 2020.

Graduation rates are only one measure of student success, which the state Education Department tries to keep in mind when it evaluates results, “but it’s an important piece, and we do want to emphasize it as such,” Balow said.

With the 2020-21 school year in full swing, Balow celebrated the continued success of Wyoming students as they push the rate higher each year. However, she said work remains to be done, as nearly one in five students still doesn’t graduate in four years.

“It’s really wonderful to see the normal trend continuing and students continuing to thrive right through graduation,” she said. “As always, I remain concerned about the around 18% of our students who aren’t graduating on time.”

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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