Yesterday state Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau unveiled the Graduation and Dropout Report, and its conclusions are something to celebrate.

Especially in Missoula, where the whole Graduation Matters thing got started, and which is leading the way with the lowest dropout rates in Montana.

In fact, Missoula won the Trailblazer Award for exactly that reason.

The report says that the statewide graduation rate is nearly 85 percent now. Five years ago, when the Graduation Matters initiative first got rolling in Missoula, the statewide rate was was below 81 percent.

In 2009, the dropout rate was 5 percent. It was 3.6 percent in the latest report.

In Missoula, the news is even better:

Missoula now has the highest graduation rate of any Class AA school district, at 88.3 percent, and has increased the graduation rate of Native American students from 56 percent in 2007 to 82.8 percent last year.

Read the entire announcement here:

Juneau Announces Significant Increases

in Montana’s Graduation Rate

Honors Graduation Matters Communities

for Having a Positive Impact on Students’ Lives

Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau released the 2013 Graduation and Dropout Report at a celebration with Graduation Matters communities, corporate partners and supporters. This year marks Juneau’s fifth year in office and the beginning of the fourth year of Graduation Matters Montana. From 2009 to 2013, Montana’s graduation rate has increased from 80.7 percent to 84.4 percent, and the dropout rate has decreased from 5 percent to 3.6 percent. This means that 772 fewer students dropped out in 2013 than in 2009.

“Through the work of local Graduation Matters communities, hundreds of students’ lives have been changed for the better,” said Superintendent Juneau. “When you take a statewide view of the efforts to raise graduation rates and improve college and career readiness, you can see that the economic future of Montana will be forever impacted as a result of local communities and schools working to make graduation matter.”

According to calculations made by the Alliance for Excellent Education, Montana is likely to see significant economic gains as a result of the increase in its high school graduation rate from 2009 to 2013. The Alliance estimates Montana will see a $4.3 million annual boost to the state’s economy going forward and an increase of $5.1 million in spending on homes and a $600,000 increase in automobile sales. Collectively, the additional graduates will likely earn an additional $68.2 million over the course of their lifetimes, compared to if they had not graduated from high school.

Superintendent Juneau recognized five communities and one community partner with “Graduation Matters Impact Awards” for their outstanding efforts to improve graduation rates and college and career readiness: Graduation Matters Missoula, Graduation Matters Rocky Boy, Graduation Matters Great Falls, Graduation Matters Anaconda, Graduation Matters Belgrade and the United Ways of Montana.

Juneau pointed to data that demonstrates dropout rates are highest in grades 11 and 12, accounting for 999 of the students in Montana who dropped out in 2013 or 65 percent of all dropouts. Juneau also noted that 122 students who were 19 years of age or older were enrolled in the Fall Semester and 93 in the Spring Semester during the 2012-2013 school year.  She reinforced her commitment to introducing legislation to raise the legal dropout age to “age 18 or upon graduation” and providing state funding for students who are older than 18 years old.

The 2013 Statewide Graduation and Dropout Report can be downloaded here:

Trend Data for Graduation and Dropout Rates



H.S. Dropout Rate

Graduation Rate

Completion Rate


























Currently, 34 communities are Graduation Matters communities, including all of Montana’s largest school districts and 10 communities on or near American Indian reservations. Seventy percent of Montana students attend a school with a Graduation Matters initiative.

Current communities involved in a Graduation Matters Montana initiative: Anaconda, Belgrade, Billings, Box Elder, Bozeman, Browning, Butte, Columbia Falls, Corvallis, Eureka, Frazer, Great Falls, Hamilton, Hardin, Havre, Heart Butte, Helena, Kalispell, Lame Deer, Laurel, Lewistown, Libby, Lincoln, Livingston, Miles City, Missoula, Polson, Pryor, Rocky Boy, St. Ignatius , Stevensville, Thompson Falls, Townsend and Wolf Point

Information about the “Graduation Matters Impact Awards” can be found here:

For more information about Graduation Matters Montana, go to: