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High school graduation rates were down slightly in Box Elder County overall last year, but stayed in line with historical and state averages.

The state Board of Education released data last week stating that 43,500 students graduated from district and charter high schools in Utah in 2019, representing 87.4% who entered as freshmen four years earlier.

The overall graduation rate increased by 0.4% since last year and is up by more than 3% in the past five years, board officials said. It was the seventh straight year that the rate went up.

The Box Elder School District reported graduating 859 students in 2019 for an overall graduation rate of 83.6%. That was down from 84.3% in 2018 and 83.9% in 2017, but remained consistent with long-term trends.

Bear River High School was well above the statewide average, graduating 303 students this year for a rate of 92.7%. That was down from 95 percent in 2018, but up compared with a 91.5% rate in 2017.

Box Elder High School graduated 452 students at a rate of 86.5%, down from 87.4% in 2018 and 88.2% in 2017.

Graduation rates at Dale Young Community High School have historically been below average, but the school has shown marked improvement in its rate. Dale Young graduated 102 students this year at a rate of 45.1%, a significant increase from 42.7% in 2018 and 35.3% in 2017, meaning the school has increased its graduation rate by nearly 10% in just two years.

A new school, Sunrise High, is currently under construction at the site of the former Dale Young building in Brigham City.

Sunrise High is expected to open in time for the 2020-21 school year.

Monticello High School was one of 14 schools in Utah to have a 100% graduate rate, meaning each of its 300 seniors enrolled graduated, officials said. Last year, there were 10.

Some of the overall gains could be attributed to increased graduation rates among some of the larger demographic groups including students with disabilities, board spokesman Mark Peterson said.

“Equity is a hallmark for the board and that is something that we’re working with all the LEAs (local education agencies) on is to make sure disadvantaged students do better while not having traditional students suffer,” Peterson said.

Despite the growth, the lowest graduation rates were among students who are economically disadvantaged at 77.3%, English learners at 72.8% and students with disabilities at 72.4%, officials said.

Girls graduated at a higher rate than boys, with 89.7% of female students graduating compared with 85.2 percent of males.

“We are proud of the efforts of our educators in helping more students graduate,” said said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson.

Dickson said it’s important to monitor graduation rates because students who don’t graduate from high school are less likely to make a living wage, move on to post-secondary education opportunities, or be civically engaged.

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