Nevada's Graduation Rate Lowest Among States - 8 News NOW

Nevada's Graduation Rate Lowest Among States

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LAS VEGAS -- Four out of every 10 students in Clark County School District are not graduating from high school.

Data recently released by the U.S. Department of Education shows a 62 percent graduation rate -- the lowest of any state in the country. Only Washington, D.C. and the Bureau of Indian Education have lower numbers.

As busy seniors on their way to graduation, Esthela Silva and Diana Sanchez-Elias have mixed feelings about leaving high school.

"Exciting and scary at the same time," is how Rancho High School senior Sanchez-Elias describes her feelings.

"You go to college, you need to do everything on your own," chimes in Silva, also a senior.

These two high school friends are on track to get their high school diplomas. They wonder about some of their classmates are failing or have dropped out of school.

"They're going to have to work harder," Silva said.

With nearly 40 percent of Clark County students failing to graduate, educators are searching for answers as to how they can lower that percentage.

"It is very troubling," said Pat Skorkowsky, CCSD deputy superintendent.

Administrators say the solution lies in passing proficiency tests, revising student schedules and being a stickler on daily attendance.

"If they're not in the classroom, we can't teach them," Skorkowsky said.

Communities in Schools, a dropout prevention organization, works alongside district leaders to boost graduation rates. In a county where more than half of all kids qualify for free and reduced lunches, support is necessary.

"They're coming to school with some great needs and that number continues to go up especially with our economic recession," said Susie Lee, Communities in Schools. "It's attendance, it's behavior, it's credits, and it's performing well in school."

Silva and Sanchez-Elias will head off to college next year. They want to encourage more of their classmates to stick it out when it comes to school.

"Just keep trying and keep going. It's hard to see someone that you care about fail," Sanchez-Elias said.

Skorkowsky said as students have better access to tutoring and adjust to revised schedules, he expects graduation rates to improve.

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