SALT LAKE CITY -- Overall high school graduation rates in Utah remained steady for the past three years, while the single-year dropout rates have decreased, state education officials announced Thursday.
Utah has a high graduation rate when compared with surrounding states, especially considering the funding education receives, said Judy Park, associate superintendent for data, assessment and accountability with the state Office of Education.
Utah's overall graduation rate has stayed at 88 percent for the past three years.
Davis School District's high graduation rate is the result of students and parents "who do what it takes to be successful," said Christopher Williams, the district's community relations director.
Davis district officials are not slacking off just because they had a 92 percent graduation rate in 2009, he said.
For example, Clearfield High School contacted the district before this school year started and asked for data on individual students so staff could help them stay on track for their diploma, Williams said.
Donna Corby, spokeswoman for Ogden City School District, said the overall percentage for her district may sound discouraging; however, the good news is, the two regular high schools, Ben Lomond and Ogden, have high graduation rates, 93 percent and 88 percent, respectively.
And in 2009, the district graduated 131 more students than it did in 2007, Corby said.
But that does not mean Ogden City School District is going to relax, she said.
"It's time to go for the full-court press. We need to continue to look at how to increase the number of students who graduate."
The other good news for Ogden is that, even though, statewide, economically disadvantaged students are less likely to graduate, 90 percent of economically disadvantaged students at Ben Lomond High School graduated in 2009.
For the past three years, the state Office of Education has used individual student identification numbers to track each student across the state, so if a student leaves school in one district and enrolls in another district, the student is accounted for, Park said.
About 51 percent of those who drop out of school do it in their senior year of high school, she said.
"Everyone thinks we're losing kids in middle school, but the data does not bear this out," Park said.
"Twelfth grade becomes a reality check. They realize they don't have enough credits to graduate, get discouraged and drop out."
The state Office of Education also monitors subgroups that graduate and drop out.
Of the number of Hispanics who enrolled in high school, only 70 percent graduated, while 90 percent of Asians who enrolled graduated.
Those who come from an economically disadvantaged background are also less likely to graduate, according to the report, with only 77 percent of those who enrolled graduating.
Park also released the state class-size average for 2009, which shows the average class size for elementary grades across the state at 24 students, while the average class size for all secondary school classes is 19 students.
Secondary math, language arts and science courses statewide average 14 to 24 students per course.
The student-teacher ratio is 21 students per teacher, while the student-adult ratio is 19 students per adult across the state.
A teacher is defined by the state office as any person assigned at the school as a regular teacher, special education teacher or a school-based specialist. An adult is defined as a teacher, counselor, librarian, media specialist, student support service person or paraprofessional.
Davis County, Williams said, only wishes it had those kinds of ratios.
"We hear every day of class sizes that exceed 30 kids, which makes it very difficult on any teacher," Williams said, adding that the district had to increase its class sizes for the 2009-10 school year because of a $23 million budget cut required by the state.
He said the district does have classes with small numbers, but those are specialized courses, not the required courses every student needs to take.