Thursday, December 12, 2019

Area graduation rates soar above state average

Graduation rates are soaring across the region as area schools shot above the state average.

Throughout the state, schools showed impressive graduation rates in 2018. In fact, according to the Minnesota Department of Education, “more Minnesota seniors than ever before graduated in 2018, with 55,869 students—83.2% of the graduating class overall, the state’s highest graduation rate on record—achieving the honor and moving on to career and college.”

For area schools, it’s even better news.



When you walk through the halls of Kasson-Mantorville High School, you are reminded of its motto of “commitment to excellence.”

That motto showed to be true when it came to the high school graduation rates in 2018, as they graduated 98.5%, the highest percentage in Dodge County and more than 15 percent more than the average rate for high schools across the state.

Superintendent Mark Matuska said that he believes the curriculum that the district has along with the commitment they have from the community are two big factors in their successful graduation rates.

“I believe having a comprehensive curriculum that continues to offer our kids relevant learning experiences to their future careers in addition to the high quality of teachers we have in the classroom are the keys to a high graduation rate,” Matuska stated. “Our parents and community members have also been consistently supportive of the school district, and I am positive that makes a significant impact as well,” he added.



Byron High School wasn’t able to repeat its performance of having a perfect graduation rate in 2018, but nonetheless it had an impressive rate coming in at 96.5%.

Principal Steve Willman explained that he is thankful for the hard work from staff which helped with graduating a large number of students this year. ”I am thankful for the hard work and dedication of the Byron High School staff and their commitment to meeting the needs of our students,” he said. “I am also grateful for our students’ and parents’ involvement in and support of education. We will continue to grow organizationally to ensure learning at high levels for all kids.”

Board Chair Sharon Kreitinger stated that the graduation rates show a dedication to the learning process within the district, “This is a reflection of the dedication to the overall teaching and learning process here in Byron,” she said.

The progress, Kreitinger said, is something that all staff can and should be proud of, from the Pre-K teachers to every staff member in the high school. “Our entire team is focused on preparing every one of our students for graduation, ready for college and other opportunities,” she said. “I’m proud of our hardworking students and staff; it is because of their determination and diligence that we continue to see our students graduate at these high rates setting up our students for success in whatever their next step may be. It can only happen if every student matters and we know that with a plan every student can and will succeed.”

According to district officials, Byron continues to demonstrate superb results with a 96.5% 2018 graduation rate.​ “The trajectory of our district’s performance continues with high expectations and high performance. These results are part of everyone's hard work towards achieving our essential organizational outcomes,” said Superintendent Dr. Joey Page.



Triton High School had impressive numbers for its graduation rates in 2018, coming in at 94%. With its success in graduating students the Minnesota Department of Education called the district a leader in that area.

“Triton continues to be a leader in this area with a 94% graduation rate,” a MDE press release stated. “Triton’s higher graduation rates are a byproduct of the continued commitment and dedication of the Triton staff, families, administration and board of education. We are proud of the continued work by our students and families as we collaboratively develop strategies and improve to create the best educational experience possible for all students,” the press release went on to state.

Triton High School Principal Craig Schlichting said he is proud of the progress they have made when it comes to graduating students, but hopes they can continue to show students the importance of a high school diploma.

“I am happy with the progress we have made over the years,” Schlichting said. “We do all we can to support them, but they need to be willing to do their part as well. Unfortunately, at times it feels like we are still trying to convince students that a high school diploma matters,” he added.



Like every Dodge County school, Hayfield High School was able to post a graduation rate percentage in the 90s as they posted an impressive 94.8% graduation rate for 2018.

Hayfield principal Grant Klennert explained that since they are in a small school district, they are able to build real relationships with students and families which helps with graduating students.

We are fortunate to be in a district where we are able to establish relationships with each student and family in the district. We work hard to make sure all students graduate on time or are provided additional resources to still work towards their diploma,” Klennert said. ”Being a small district allows us the opportunity to work with students and parents to meet this goal for all students. We continue to educate our students on the educational and socioeconomic importance of gaining their high school diploma,” he added.


See full story in this week’s print edition or subscribe online. Please subscribe here or current subscribers can login here.

Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944


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