Nebraska High School Graduation Rate Hits Record High

By  | 

LINCOLN, Neb. Nebraska public schools graduated nearly 90 percent of their high school seniors in 2014, increasing the percentage of graduates to 89.7 percent, up from 88.5 percent in 2013.

The public school graduation rate has steadily improved since 2011 when 86.1 percent of the high school seniors graduated in four years.

*As required by the U.S. Department of Education, Nebraska began reporting graduation rates by the Four-Year Cohort method in 2011.

“Nebraska public schools set a new all-time high graduation rate this year, in effect, reaching the state goal,” Nebraska Education Commissioner Matt Blomstedt said, commenting on new 2014 data released today by the Nebraska Department of Education.

Blomstedt also noted that the state’s six-year graduation rate topped the state goal with 91.1 percent of all high school seniors graduating within six years.

“The bottom line: Nebraska schools don’t give up on their students,” Blomstedt said. “Nebraska teachers and administrators work hard to keep all students in school and to get them to graduation despite the academic struggles and difficult and challenging circumstances some students face daily.”

The 2014 six-year graduation rate improved from nearly 89.7 percent to 91.1 percent or 20,137 high school seniors graduating in six years.

For the first time this year, school districts that graduated 100 percent of their seniors also were named. In 2014, 65 Nebraska school districts graduated 100 percent of their seniors in four years and 69 districts graduated all seniors in six years. In the past, Nebraska has not provided results when all students were included in a single category to further protect the privacy of individual students.

The new graduation data as well as dropout rates have been added to the State of the Schools Report and are available at: or

LPS calculates their graduation rate for students by accounting only for those who start as ninth graders and complete high school in four years.

Using that formula, LPS says 87.2 percent of their students graduated this year which is up from 87.1 percent last year.

Pat-Hunter Pirtle, the Director of Secondary Education says there's a reason they don't include transfer students in their calculation.

"We know the students who are in the school system for the entire time, they've been here. We know they are receiving a strong curriculum so we can focus on those students and it also helps us to know that our curriculum is strong. When students are transferring in we're not sure what they've been receiving where they're coming from and we don't know for sure what their background is," said Pirtle.

LPS also calculated dropout rates and they say the dropout rate for 2014 is 5.1 percent which is down 6 percent last year, and from 8.8 percent just three years ago.

With transfer students included, LPS has an 83.9 percent graduation rate in 2014 and that is up from 83.7 percent in 2013.

Pirtle told 10/11 LPS is happy with the numbers and they've added support programs this year that helped them bump up graduation rates.

"We have advocates that go to all of the schools and again they focus on different groups of students. If we had those folks here they could tell you, they could name the kids they are worried about or that they are constantly on top of and they will go to any length to make sure those kids are getting work done.They are at school just doing everything they possibly can and that's just one example,"said Pirtle.