JACKSON, Wyo. — High school graduation rates in Wyoming increased again in 2021 for the eighth consecutive year, the Wyoming Department of Education announced today.

Graduation rates have risen steadily since 2013. The pandemic threatened to upend Wyoming’s progress, but instead the graduation rate grew at the same rate as the previous two years, by .1%. In 2021, 82.4% of Wyoming high schoolers graduated “on time,” meaning they earned a diploma by Sept. 15 following their cohort’s fourth year.

“The pandemic thrust unique challenges on students and schools in the last two years,” Wyoming Department of Education’s Chief Policy Officer said in a press conference Wednesday. “This shows how highly we value education in this state.”

Teton County was one of 17 state school districts with a graduation rate at or above 90%. Its graduation rate was 97.6% in 2021 — up from 93.6% in 2020.

But not all Wyoming students were so lucky to learn during the pandemic. While statewide graduation rates increased last year, graduation rates for Native American and homeless students decreased across the state. In Teton County, the lowest graduation rate was for students in Individual Education Programs (IEP), or students with special learning needs. They graduated at a rate of 80%.

Participation in virtual learning programs increased by roughly 4,000 students state-wide, even as schools returned to in-person or hybrid learning Eakins said. That left some students, particularly Native American and homeless, behind.

“We’re looking to see if there are additional supports for those students,” Eakins said.

Shannon is a Wyoming-raised writer and reporter. She just completed a master's in journalism from Boston University. Jackson shaped her into an outdoorswoman, but a love for language and the human condition compels her to write. She believes there's no story too small to tell nor adventure too small to take.