Dolores High graduation rate rises

Principal to top school's 90 percent rate; across state, rate is 76.9 percent

More Dolores High School students graduated on time in 2013 than in 2012, according to state data released last week.

"We take great pride in our graduation rates. Our small class sizes allow us to provide individualized attention to each student," Principal Brandon Thurston said.

Almost 90 percent of the Dolores class of 2013 graduated on time - 61 of 68 students. The previous year, 36 of the 43 seniors, or about 84 percent, graduated on time. The state uses graduation rates, in addition to standardized test scores, to grade the overall performance of the school district each year.

Graduation rates across the state also rose slightly, from 75.4 percent to 76.9 percent, meaning that about 1,000 more students graduated on time.

The school beat the state average by more than 13 percentage points.

But Thurston said he would like the to see even better academic achievement.

"Our rates may be higher than most of the state, however we still strive to help every student get to graduation. We would love to see this hit 100 percent," Thurston said.

Thurston attributed the high school's success to small class sizes that allow the staff to meet regularly with each student to review their academic progress and develop the best plan for them based on what they want to do after high school.

The school also works to engage students through extracurricular activities. The staff recently expanded these options by adding theater this year.

Thurston said the school's commitment to engaging more students is one of the reasons that nearly 25 percent of the school's enrollment comes from students choosing the Dolores school district over their home district.

"We are a close-knit school and work hard to maintain a strong family atmosphere," he said.