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More students than ever before donned a cap and gown in Minnesota, as high school graduation rates went up across the state. The Department of Education reports that 2017 was a record-setting year for Minnesota graduates.Since 2012, the average high school graduation rate increased steadily for both white and non-white students. The increase culminated in 2017 with an average rate of 82.7 percent statewide.The Anoka-Hennepin School District fared even better, where an average of 83.2 percent graduated in 2017. Superintendent David Law says great gains have been made specifically among the African American and Asian populations, as well as those on the free and reduced lunch program.2017 Graduation Rates in Anoka-Hennepin District 11Statewide Average: 82.7% Anoka-Hennepin Average: 83.2%
Andover High School: 92.2%
Champlin High School: 91.9%
Blaine High School: 89.8%
Anoka High School: 89.5%
Coon Rapids High School: 84.5%Superintendent Law believes a key to the success comes down to personal connections. While the student body became almost 10 percent more diverse during the past 10 years, graduation rates in the district continued to increase by almost 10 percent.At Coon Rapids High School, 100 percent of Asian female students graduated last year, 81.6 percent of African American males graduated, and 90.3 percent of African American females. Those rates are all significantly higher than in the past.“As we're getting increasingly diverse, we're becoming more successful with our students,” said Superintendent Law, “and I think part of it has to do with kids feeling welcome in our school system and kids feeling connected.”The philosophy at Anoka-Hennepin is to try to cluster students who share similar interests or similar needs. They have learning advocates in each school focused on college and career readiness, the AVID program is dedicated to closing the achievement gap through individual student attention, and efforts to increase attendance all have an impact.The goal is to make Anoka-Hennepin’s large schools feel smaller and more personal.“The trick, isn't really a trick,” explained Law, “it's what's always worked in school: build relationships.”Find more graduation data and learn more about your school at: http://rc.education.state.mn.us/#Jennifer Anderson reportingMarch 2, 2018