While the overall four-year graduation rate in St. Louis County increased in 2020, the graduation rates for American Indian students decreased significantly.

In St. Louis County, the four-year graduation rate for all students increased by 1.05% but American Indian students saw a significant decrease. In 2020, the four-year graduation rate for American Indian students decreased by 4.73% and the dropout rate more than doubled from 2019 (8.06%) to 2020 (17.24%).

These are in contrast to numbers statewide.

Statewide, American Indian students saw the biggest increase of any group with an increase of 4.9% over 2019. The dropout rate for this group statewide decreased by more than 2%. American Indian students have one of the lowest graduation rates in the state and continue to even with the 4.9% increase.

American Indian student four-year graduation rates across Minnesota were only 55.7% in 2020. In 2019, that number was 50.8%.

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“While we have so much to be proud of in Minnesota, we know that we still have work to do to close gaps and increase access, participation and representation to ensure every single student graduates from high school,” Education Commissioner Heather Mueller said in a news release.



Four masked family members watch as Clayton Higgins makes his way toward the stage following arrows in yellow tape during his five-minute graduation ceremony at Denfeld High School on Tuesday, May 12, 2020. (Tyler Schank / File / News Tribune)
Four masked family members watch as Clayton Higgins makes his way toward the stage following arrows in yellow tape during his five-minute graduation ceremony at Denfeld High School on Tuesday, May 12, 2020. (Tyler Schank / File / News Tribune)

Duluth Public Schools

Duluth Public Schools had a slight decrease in four-year graduation rates overall. The district's American Indian and Black student populations both had significant decreases.

District-wide, Black student graduation rates decreased by 4.26% and American Indian student rates decreased by nearly 10%. In 2019 the district saw a 10% increase in American Indian student graduation rates, progress that has been nearly erased by the class of 2020. The dropout rates for American Indian students more than tripled in 2020.

While Denfeld High School graduation rates increased by 1.8% to 79.67% overall and East High School remained steady at about 92%, the district's overall four-year graduation rate decreased by 0.6%. This rate includes the Area Learning Center, Academic Excellence Online, Rockridge Academy and Arrowhead Academy, all of which typically have low four-year graduation rates.

Hermantown Community Schools

The entire class of 2020 at Hermantown Community Schools graduated in four years, giving the district its first 100% graduation rate. Minnesota Department of Education graduation data only goes back to 2012.

Hermantown High School came close to 100% in 2019, but due to one unknown student — a student that left the district but is unaccounted for — the school only had a graduation rate of 99.4%.

Hermantown’s class of 2020 includes 21 special education students, 31 free or reduced lunch students and no students of color.

Proctor Public Schools

Proctor High School saw a less than 1% increase in four-year graduation rates, staying steady around 92%. The school also saw an increase in dropout rates of nearly 4% in 2020.

Of the 117 students who did graduate, 36 received free or reduced-price lunch. Ninety-five identified as white and eight identified as two or more races. Thirteen 13 identified as special education.

Harbor City International Charter School

Harbor City International Charter School in Duluth saw a significant decrease in overall four-year graduation rates. The 2020 graduation rate was 81.4%, compared to 84.62% in 2019.

After a dip in 2017, Harbor City was seeing its graduation rate go up until 2020. The charter school’s senior class has ranged from 39 students to a high in 2017 of 54 students. It’s the smallest high school in the Duluth area.