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Richfield High School sees graduation rate increase in every student group

The numbers are in and the four-year graduation rates at Richfield High School (RHS) are climbing. The four-year graduation rate at RHS not only graph showing graduation growth data increased three percentage points compared to last year (from 80.9 percent in 2017 to 84.3 percent in 2018) but also surpassed the state graduation rate of 83 percent. The positive progress of RHS is even more apparent when looking at the improvement in graduation rates over the last five years. RHS has increased by 16 percentage points from 2012 to 2018 compared to the state’s increase of five percentage points during the same time span. “I’m really proud of the stamina and grit of our educators to continue this work over time in order to see this long-term sustained improvement,” said Superintendent Dr. Steven Unowsky.

Additionally, all RHS student groups (Asian, Latino, Black, White, English Learners, Special Education, Free/Reduced Price Lunch, Females) increased graduation rates when compared to last year and now have a higher graduation rate than their statewide peers with the exception of our Male population (behind the state by three percentage points). “All of our students are thriving and growing,” said Unowsky. The achievement gap between students of color and white students is significantly closing over time with RHS at a 33 percent gap in 2012 and a 11 percentage point gap in 2018. “We are consistently narrowing the gap and not leaving any group of our students behind in our success,” said Unowsky.

The group that saw the highest increase in graduation rates was Special Education which rose 15 percentage points from 2017 to 2018 (50 percent to 65 percent). Unowsky contributes the impressive growth to a “honed focus” on Special Education programs and supports.

Unowsky attributes the success of RHS to several factors including encouraged parent involvement and access, delayed start times, expanded instructional days, strengthened teacher-student relationships, and exceptional leadership and teachers. This work has not only been reflected in graduation data, but in test scores as well. Unowsky notes it’s “exciting that our student ACT scores, a national college entrance exam that all 11th grade students take are jumping at consistent increments.”

“We have created a climate and culture of expectation and success,” said Unowsky. “From the moment they (students) walk into our school system, to the moment they graduate, they know we are working together to build onto their future,” said Unowsky.