Sunrise Mountain’s Graduation Rate Surges Past Expectations

For some schools, cold temperatures signal the time to present their student academic progress data to parents, staff and community members. During Sunrise Mountain High School’s presentation, its staff could barely restrain their excitement when they reported a 91 percent graduation rate for the Class of 2017.

“That graduation rate was four years in the making,” explained Principal Julia Llapur. “The Class of 2017 were freshmen during the school’s first year in the Turnaround Zone.”

It was in 2013-14 that Sunrise Mountain entered Clark County School District’s Turnaround Zone – a designation that brings additional resources and opportunities for improved student achievement, such as professional development, collaborative planning, and targeted and specialized support.

Since then, Sunrise Mountain High School’s graduation rate steadily increased. And when it exited the Turnaround Zone in 2016, Sunrise Mountain posted a graduation rate of 75.75 percent.

The following year, the high school staff set a goal to attain an 80 percent graduation rate.

After a year out of the Turnaround Zone, Sunrise Mountain High School reported to its School Organizational Team and parent groups a 91 percent graduation rate, exceeding its goal by 11 percent.

She said each student’s progress was tracked since day one – a strategy used for all students who enter Sunrise Mountain High School – with the help of Clark County School District’s data visualization tool.

While the data played a big role in the high school’s rising graduation rate, Llapur is grateful to have staff who “believe in these students and feel that they deserve the best” to see the task through.

“We used the data to know what we have and where we were, so we could build on that and continue to improve,” said Llapur. “We made huge gains in the last five years, but we will not stop looking inward for more opportunities for improvement.”