Frazee-Vergas over 90 percent last two years

Photo by Robert Williams
Statewide graduation numbers are on a slight decline over the past year, however, in the Frazee-Vergas School District grad rates are on the rise and have been over 90 percent of the eligible student body the past two years.

By Robert Williams


The Minnesota Department of Education released the class of 2023’s graduation rate data Thursday, March 28. The 2023 graduation rate was 83.3 percent or 58,293 graduates, which represents a 0.3 percentage point decrease in the four-year graduation rate compared to the class of 2022.

In 2023, 3,874 students from earlier classes also earned their diplomas, graduating five, six or seven years after beginning high school.

“I am proud of the students in the Class of 2023,” said MDE Commissioner Willie Jett. “Every student has a unique story, and their effort and commitment deserve celebration. I am also grateful for the hard work our educators, families, and communities invest into supporting our students.”

Frazee-Vergas has rebounded from a five-year low graduation percentage of 78.3 in 2021 to back-to-back years in the 90th percentile, with the 2023 class graduating 52 students, or 91.2 percent.

In the district, attendance is just over the state average of 69.8 percent at 70.9 percent with 769 kids attending regularly.

A large majority of students (77 percent) at Frazee-Vergas believe their teachers care about them.

The district did see a decline in the number of students meeting standards in math, reading, and science over time, which has been a trend since the pandemic.

Prior to the 2020, average percentages of students meeting standards were 55.1 percent in math; 61.9 percent in reading and 53.7 percent in science for the Class of 2019.

In 2023, those numbers are significantly lower at 39 percent, 43.7 percent and 33.7 percent, respectively.

The small decrease in the total graduation rate statewide is driven, in part, by a 0.4 percentage point increase in the unknown rate, which tracks students who were either incorrectly reported or were not reported as enrolled elsewhere. This re-emphasizes the need for schools to keep track of— and report—every single student during their high school career.

The graduation data shows decreases in graduation rates for Black, Asian, Latino and English learner student groups. The data also show some bright spots. While graduation rates for Black students declined from a large increase in 2022, the five-year trend for the student group is still trending upward from 69.9 percent in 2019 to 72.1 percent today. Graduation rates increased for students in the two or more races and white student groups. Graduation rates for students who are American Indian and students who receive special education services remained flat with both student groups retaining increases seen in 2022.

“High school graduation is a crucial milestone for every student in our schools; it’s essential for individual success and the well-being of our communities,” Jett said. “Over the past year, we’ve begun implementing key initiatives such as structured literacy, Minnesota Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MnMTSS), and increased mental health support. I am confident these tools will change outcomes for students, including increased graduation rates, and we are committed to continuous improvement in our schools and at MDE.”

The Minnesota Department of Education is focused on supporting schools to implement a host of transformational investments passed as part of the One Minnesota Budget during the 2023 legislative session. Among a variety of key efforts, this includes nation-leading literacy legislation, policies and funding to ensure safe and nurturing learning environments, investments in the educator workforce, and greater access to opportunities in high school.