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Missoula Superintendent Addresses Declining Graduation Rates at Hellgate and Big Sky

Alex Apostle
Photo courtesy of MCPS

Nearly all of Missoula County AA Public High Schools have a better graduation rate than the state-wide average, but that was not true for Hellgate High school in 2014. State statistics show that both Hellgate and Big Sky saw a drop in their graduation rate, while the other high schools in the area improved. Missoula County Superintendent of School District One Alex Apostle says the school system is working to address the issue.

“Hellgate high school and Big Sky High School are very aware of the statistics that were presented in this latest round of evaluations,” Apostle said. “They are working diligently and they’re making progress, the number of students that have dropped out of those schools at this point is very low, but I must say that even one student is something that were concerned about.”

Sentinel High School outperformed all of the other schools with a graduation rate of more than 91 percent, while Hellgate’s dipped to 84 percent and Big Sky’s dropped down to 86 percent. Apostle says the number of dropouts was “too many.”

“Last year we had a total of 92 students drop out of our high schools,” Apostle said. That’s 92 too many, when you compare that to 2008, when I came to the district, we were losing over 200 kids, the state is monitoring the dropout and the graduation rate very closely.”

Montana has been tracking the dropout rate since 2000, and 2014 showed the least number of dropouts for the state so far. In 2014, Bozeman surpassed Missoula as the city with the Highest AA graduation rate.


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