First Person

Find your district's high school graduates

A first-of-its-kind report released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Higher Education shows two-thirds of the state’s high school graduates had enrolled in college a year later, with 45 percent staying in Colorado and 22 percent leaving the state.

The data is unusual in that officials were able to track students leaving Colorado. That also allowed them to nail down the number of high school graduates who weren’t in college a year later at 33 percent.

It’s a one-year snapshot for the Class of 2009 that reveals broad gaps in college attainment and achievement by ethnicity, by gender and by school district. For example, only two metro-area districts – Boulder and Littleton – saw more than 80 percent of their graduates in college anywhere a year later. Adams 14-Commerce City’s college-going rate was 29 percent. Denver’s was 55 percent.

Click in the search box below to find your district’s figures and go here to see more details by ethnicity, by gender and by school district. Read EdNews’ related story on the report.

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Search tips and data notes

  • To compare districts, hit “Ctrl” and click on as many names as you’d like to see.
  • Clicking the “Details” button brings up more information about the numbers, including whether students staying in Colorado attended two-year, four-year or private schools.
  • Can’t find a school? Think your school data is in error? Email us at EdNews@EdNewsColorado.org and we’ll check it out.
  • Data is from pages 16-24 of this Colorado Department of Higher Education report.
  • If you prefer your data in a spreadsheet format, go here.
  • Additional databases, including remediation rates in college, can be found in the EdNews’ Data Center and on this Colorado Department of Higher Education website.

Overall findings for the Colorado Class of 2009

  • Of the 50,174 high school graduates in spring 2009, 33,484 – or 67% – enrolled in a college or university during the 2009-10 school year.
  • Most of those – or 22,657 graduates – enrolled in a Colorado public college or university while 10,827 enrolled in either a non-public college in Colorado or an out-of-state institution.
  • More female graduates enrolled in a college or university than did male graduates – 70% of females vs. 65% of males.
  • The average cumulative GPA for the 2009 graduates enrolled in a Colorado college or university in 2009-10 was 2.65.
  • Of the Class of 2009 enrolling in a Colorado college or university, 75% had completed more than 15 credit hours of coursework by the end of spring 2010.

Findings on ethnicity

  • Asians and white students had the highest college-going rates at 78% and 72% respectively, followed by African-Americans at 66%, Hispanics at 49% and Native Americans at 48%.
  • African-American students were the most likely to attend college out-of-state, with 26% doing so, followed by white students with an out-of-state rate of 24%.
  • Asian graduates were more than three times as likely to enroll at four-year institutions than at two-year institutions. Similarly, more than twice as many white graduates enrolled at four-year institutions than two-year institutions. But the gap for African-American, Hispanic and Native American graduates is much smaller.
  • Of those enrolling in a Colorado college or university, Asian students had the highest average GPA at 2.72, followed by white students at 2.70, Native American students at 2.58, Hispanic students at 2.49 and African-American students at 2.29.
  • Asian students had the highest average number of credit hours completed by the end of their first year of college, with 29 credits, followed by whites at 28 credits, Hispanics at 22 credits and Native American and African-American students at 20 credits.
  • African-American and Hispanic students were nearly twice as likely to have significant financial need, as evidenced by their receipt of a Pell grant, compared to white students.

Findings on gender

  • More female than male graduates attended institutions out of state or at a non-public Colorado institution.
  • Of those graduates enrolling in a Colorado college or university, female students had a higher average GPA, at 2.77, than did male students, at 2.52.
  • Female graduates enrolling in a Colorado college or university had accumulated a higher average number of credits, at 28, than had male students, at 26, by the end of the first year of college.

Colorado’s 20 largest districts ranked by college-going rate

  • Littleton – 81%
  • Academy 20 – 80%
  • Boulder – 80%
  • Douglas County – 77%
  • Fort Collins – 76%
  • Jeffco – 76%
  • Cherry Creek – 75%
  • Falcon – 71%
  • St. Vrain – 70%
  • Thompson/Loveland – 65%
  • Pueblo City – 63%
  • Greeley – 63%
  • Adams 12-Five Star – 62%
  • Colorado Springs – 58%
  • Mesa/Grand Junction – 57%
  • Denver – 55%
  • Brighton – 54%
  • Harrison – 51%
  • Aurora – 46%
  • Charter School Institute – no data

First Person

I’ve spent years fighting for integrated schools in New York City. I’m also Asian-American. Mayor de Blasio, let’s talk.

PHOTO: Christina Veiga
Parents weigh in on a proposal to integrate District 2 middle schools by making them enroll students with a range of academic abilities earlier this year.

Dear Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza,

I write as a school integration advocate, racial justice activist, public school mother, and a first-generation Japanese-American.

I have spent years working with other parents to make New York City’s public school system more equitable, facilitating conversations on school integration as a means to dismantle racism in our society. I believe it is past time we address the segregation in New York City public schools, and I agree that something must be done with the specialized high schools — which currently admit few black and Latinx students — as part of this work.

However, I am concerned about how you’ve rolled out this proposal without including the people it will affect.

As opposition mounts and the Asian communities across the city mobilize against your plan, I wanted to share some thoughts so that you are better prepared to create a meaningful dialogue on perhaps the most complex part of the school integration work.

I would like to ask three things from you. One is to please see us Asian New Yorkers for who we are.

There is no question that Asians have been (and many still are) marginalized and disempowered. If one learns the history of Asians in the U.S., she understands that our past is filled with violence and struggles. Our history is steeped in discriminatory policies at federal and local levels, including the Chinese Exclusion Act and Japanese internment. We were only given the “model minority” status because doing so was convenient for domestic and international politics.

We are also a very diverse group of people, representing more than four dozen countries. This fact alone makes it very difficult to make any general statements about us.

That doesn’t mean, though, that we should be ignored in this conversation or inaccurately lumped in with whites. High average test scores do not automatically equal privilege, and they are certainly no match for white supremacy — a concept many self-proclaimed “non-racists” are unable to recognize. This lack of understanding makes it nearly impossible to identify Asians as oppressed people of color.

The second thing I ask is to bring all of us – whites, blacks, Latinx, and Asians (East, South, and Southeast Asians) – together to develop solutions to integrate our schools.

The unfortunate fact is that our city is not typically equipped to have productive conversations about race and racism. And if racism of white against black/Latinx is difficult to grasp for some, understanding how Asians fit into this discourse is even harder.

Our position is so complicated, even racial justice activists – including Asians themselves – often do not know how to talk about us. When we are not ignored, we are perceived as “outsiders,” even if this is the only country some of us know.

But there is no reason we can’t work together. History tells us that Asians have been fighting for civil rights alongside black and Latinx people for decades, even after the white system began using us as pawns. Even in the highly contentious affirmative action arena, in which some Asians have been co-opted by white anti-affirmative action groups, many Asians remain in favor of affirmative action and are continuing to fight for equity for all people of color.

Finally, to make that work, I ask that you adopt a “bottom up and top down” approach, in which community conversations and shared decision-making happen under your leadership. Such a framework has been proposed by a group of advocates, including students.

The Department of Education has already hosted a series of town halls to solicit ideas on diversifying our schools, and has done a good job of getting people to come out. However, on this proposal for the specialized high schools, there was no consultation with affected communities, including students.

Let’s practice what we preach and have an inclusive, participatory process. Let’s not ignore the Asian community when we talk about school integration, and let’s specifically include Asian voices — parents and students — in this discussion about specialized schools and all schools. Let’s have real conversations aimed at uniting those who have been marginalized, not dividing them. And let’s explain how these decisions will be made and why.

This is an opportunity to start a conversation that should have happened when Brown v. Board of Education was decided 64 years ago, and to create more equitable, integrated schools. Let’s make sure we do it right.

Shino Tanikawa is the vice president of District 2’s Community Education Council and a school integration advocate.

First Person

If teachers aren’t equipped to help trauma victims, students suffer. Learn from my story.

PHOTO: Anthony Lanzilote

It took one of my kindergarten students, Andrew, to help me figure out how to handle my toughest teaching challenge.

My classroom wall was full of pictures that Andrew had drawn for me. He often greeted me at the door with a smile. But Andrew would also scream, act out, and even hurt himself in my class.

For quite some time, I thought that if I could find a different way to ask him to get back on task, maybe he would not become so aggressive, not bang his head on the floor. But regardless of how tactfully I approached keeping him engaged or redirected his behavior, Andrew would implode. And with little to no support, I quickly grew weary and helpless.

Eventually, I did learn how to help students like Andrew. I also eventually realized that when you teach students who have been impacted by trauma, you have to balance ownership and the reality that you cannot solve every problem. But the trial and error that it took to reach that point as a teacher was exhausting.

I hope we, as a profession, can do better for new Memphis teachers. In the meantime, maybe you can learn from my story.

I grew up in a trauma-filled household, where I learned to mask my hurt and behave like a “good girl” to not bring attention to myself. It wasn’t until a high school teacher noticed how hard I flinched at being touched and privately expressed concerns that I got help. After extensive investigations and professional support, I was on the road to recovery.

When I became a teacher myself, and met Andrew and many students like him, I began to see myself within these children. But that didn’t mean I knew how to reach them or best help them learn. All I knew to do when a child was misbehaving was to separate them from the rest of the classroom. I didn’t have the training to see past a student’s bad behavior and help them cope with their feelings.

It took a while to learn not to internalize Andrew’s attacks, even when they became physical. No matter what Andrew did, each day we started over. Each day was a new opportunity to do something better, learn from a mistake, or work on developing a stronger bond.

I learned to never discipline when I am upset and found success charting “trigger behaviors,” using them to anticipate outbursts and cut down on negative behaviors.

Over time, I learned that almost all students are more receptive when they feel they have a real relationship with the teacher. Still, each case must be treated differently. One student may benefit from gentle reminders, private conversations, or “social stories” that underscore the moral of a situation. Another student may respond to firm consequences, consistent routines, or reflection journals.

Still other students sit in our classrooms each and every day and are overlooked due to their mild-mannered demeanor or their “cooperativeness.” My childhood experiences made me aware of how students mask trauma in ways very unlike Andrew. They also made me realize how imperative it is for teachers to know that overachieving students can need just as much help as a child that physically acts out.

I keep a watchful eye on students that are chronically fatigued or overly sensitive to noise or touch, jumping for minor reasons. I encourage teachers to pay close attention to students that have intense hygiene issues, as their incontinence could be acting as a defense mechanism, and I never ignore a child who is chronically withdrawn from their peers or acting out of character.

All of this took time in the classroom and effort processing my own experiences as a student with trauma. However, many teachers in Memphis aren’t coming from a similar background and haven’t been trained to see past a student’s disruptive behavior.

It’s time to change the way we support teachers and give educators intense trauma training. Often, compassionate teachers want to help students but don’t know how. Good training would help educators develop the skills they need to reach students and to take care of themselves, since working with students that have been impacted by trauma can be incredibly taxing.

Trial and error aren’t enough: If teachers are not equipped to help trauma victims, the quality of students’ education will suffer.

Candace Hines teaches kindergarten for the Achievement School District, and previously taught kindergarten for six years with Shelby County Schools. She also is an EdReports content reviewer and a coach and facilitator for Teach Plus Memphis. Hines serves as a fellow for Collaborative for Student Success and a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow.