Weather Forecast


Minnesota boasts highest graduation rate in decade: Perham above state average

Graduation rates are the highest they’ve been in 10 years in Minnesota, and in Perham, the numbers are even better than the state average.

According to a recent press release from the Minnesota Department of Education, more than 79.5 percent of Minnesota high school seniors graduated in 2013, up from 77.6 percent in 2012. This increase doubled the growth seen over the previous three years, showing acceleration in progress for Minnesota seniors.

In Perham, 105 students earned their high school diplomas in 2013, an 87.5 percent graduation rate.

The district has not seen a graduation rate lower than 83 percent in the last five years. The district’s best year was the 2011-2012 school year, with an 89 percent graduation rate.

 While these numbers are significantly above the state average, district officials say there’s still room for improvement.

Perham High School Principal Ehren Zimmerman said teachers and staff who “work hard to build positive relationships with students and recognize students’ needs early on” are key in keeping kids on track to graduate.

In the future, Zimmerman said technology may have a positive impact on graduation rates. He said hybrid and online classes could be used in place of some traditional classes to keep students interested and invested in learning.

Statewide, all student groups showed gains last year, with some of the largest increases being made by students of color and students learning English, the press release states.

The gap for both Black and Hispanic students closed by 8 points since 2010, while Asian students closed the gap by 5 points and American Indian students made a 2 percent closure.

While these graduation rates seem to be trending in a favorable direction, Minnesota’s Education Commissioner, Brenda Cassellius, acknowledged there is more work to do.

“The gains we see today are something to celebrate,” Cassellius said. “But, one student who does not graduate from high school is one student too many. We must continue investing in our schools, pursuing meaningful reform and eliminating barriers to graduation so every child succeeds in career and college.”