Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News)- The Rochester School District (RPS) has seen a decrease in its on-time graduation rate. 

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That’s according to new data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Education. The figures indicate Minnesota saw a statewide decline in students graduating on time in 2023 compared to 2022. 

The 2023 graduation rate decline marks a reversal for the Rochester School District, which saw an increase in the percentage of students graduating in four years in 2022. 

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Nearly 86% of Rochester students graduated on time in 2022, which was higher than the 2022 statewide graduation rate of 83.6%. The 2.1% graduation rate increase reported in 2022 brought the school district’s rate back to pre-pandemic levels. 

Rochester Sees Drop in On-Time Graduation Rate

The newly released information gathered by the state agency indicates Rochester’s on time graduation rate dropped by 1.91% compared to 2022 to 83.99%. 

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That’s a higher decline than the statewide average, which was 0.3%. Minnesota’s on time graduation rate in 2023 was 83.3%, according to the Minnesota Department of Education.

RPS Superintendent Kent Pekel released the following statement regarding the published data: 

Academic success is the top priority of the District. Last year, we had very significant positive gains in our high school graduation rates. This year, we've seen some movement in the other direction. When we see changes in our data from one year to the next, we need to remember that school improvement is a marathon and not a sprint. What really matters is the long-term trend, and I am confident that RPS is headed in the right direction. That will show in our data over time. We will dig into this data in the weeks and months ahead and further strengthen our support for students.

-RPS Superintendent Kent Pekel

RPS reported a drop in graduation rates for all demographics except for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students, which saw an increase. A news release issued by RPS lays out portions of the district's strategic plan meant to build long-term improvements for student learning. 

Statewide 58,293  accepted their diplomas last year. 3,874 graduated 5-7 years after starting high school. 

Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Willie Jett released the following statement: 

I am proud of the students in the Class of 2023. Every student has a unique story, and their effort and commitment deserve celebration. I am also grateful for the hard work our educators, families, and communities invest into supporting our students.

-Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Willie Jett

State education officials also called on Minnesota school districts to keep track of and report on every single student after seeing a 0.4% increase in the unknown rate, which tracks where students are enrolled.

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