Columbia Heights Public Schools (CHPS) has "raised the bar in academic expectations" and is closing the achievement gap by graduating more students and outperforming the state in most categories for the 2014-2015 school year. The results, released by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Monday, Feb. 22, also show CHPS has the second highest graduation gains of all school districts in the greater Twin Cities area.
Analysis of 2014-2015 CHPS graduation rates show an overall increase of 7.2 percent for last year's Columbia Heights High School (CHHS) graduating class. The CHHS class of 2015 also graduated more Black (+2.8 percent), Hispanic (+7.2 percent) and White (+10 percent) students than the previous year. Asian and Pacific Islanders - not measured in 2014 as numbers did not meet the minimum student population threshold established by MDE - had a 93.3 percent graduation rate. American Indian students were also not evaluated in 2014-2015 for not meeting the MDE threshold.
When comparing 2015 CHPS to state results, the District graduated 83.2 percent of the class of 2015 to the state average of 81.9 percent. The District also outperformed the state in the categories of Black (+19.4 percent), Hispanic (+16.6 percent), Asian/Pacific Islander (+10.6 percent), English Language (+14.5 percent), Free and Reduced Lunch (+12.5 percent) and Special Education (+10 percent).
Principal Dan Wrobleski of Columbia Heights High School attributes the graduation increases to the school's staff raising the bar for academic expectations for all students and emphasizing the school is creating college and career-ready graduates. "We worked collaboratively as a staff to increase rigor in our class content," he said. "We also focused on school wide data and specific academic support for our students." Wrobleski also attributes the success to increasing participation of diverse students in Advanced Placement courses and initiating intense academic student after-school programming to boost student performance.
"Our staff is doubling-down on creating a culture of positive relationships for students and their families and developing a school-wide focus on increasing graduation rates," he added.
For more information of the diverse E-12 educational programming and resources CHPS provides in creating college and career-ready graduates, visit the College Resources page.