The Washoe County School District is reporting record graduation rates for the third year in a row.
In a Reno school auditorium principals gave Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez a standing ovation.
District-wide, graduation rates increased seven points to 73 percent. African Americans and Pacific Island students posted a 19 percent improvement. The graduation rate for English Language Learners was up 27 percent.
Martinez says teachers are inspired.
“Because now it become now who gets to 80 percent first, who gets to close to 90 percent first and so that is what I am seeing is that over the last several years we put in these systems and in the last two years the results have been so phenomenal that frankly staff that has been working really hard, they don’t mind it because they are seeing results from it," he says.
The district’s initiatives include better academic tracking, Saturday schools programs, increasing parental involvement and pushing minority students into Advanced Placement. Despite the generally encouraging numbers, graduation rates for Native Americans declined and remained flat for Special Education.
“What I am seeing is a complete change in culture," says Martinez. "We have academic plans for every single child, we know exactly what they need and with that we are pushing them to take more advanced courses.”