YUHSD college-going rate on par with U.S. average


By Amy Crawford, YumaSun Staff Writer

Nearly 70 percent of Yuma Union High School District’s seniors are heading to college in the months following graduation, according to data from the Arizona Board of Regents.

“It is heartening to see 68 percent of our students enrolling and attending college upon graduation from high school,” said Yuma Union High School District Superintendent Toni Badone. “Yuma Union is committed to our clear bottom line of EVERY student prepared for success in college and career.”

Arizona Western College enrolled 2,647 high school students from Yuma County high schools during the 2015 year, said Vice President for Learning Services Linda Elliott-Nelson. Statewide, the number of high school seniors entering Arizona universities is the highest it has been since the 1999-2000 school year, according to the 2015-16 High School Report Card published by the AZBOR.

The YUHSD beat the state average by about 15 percent, said Matt Buckley, the district’s communications director. Arizona’s college-going rate as a whole is 53.1 percent, the ABOR reported. The national college-going rate average is 69.2 percent, according to data from the Digest of Education Statistics 2016 Tables and Figures.

“Our college-going rates are better than many schools and districts across the state,” Badone said. As a whole, the district ranks in the 23rd percentile in the state for sending students on to college, according to Buckley.

San Luis High School led the district in the percentage of students enrolling in the fall at 76.7 percent, putting it in the top 10 percent of public schools in the state, Buckley said.

San Luis High School Principal Tamara Ray said she attributes the increase in college enrollment to planning and higher expectations from not only the school, but the community.

“Our strong college-going rate is the direct result of our campus’ collective commitment to student achievement and postsecondary planning,” she said. “With numbers like this, it is clear the community of San Luis and all of our stakeholders have high expectations for our youth and value the powerful opportunities generated from pursuing a post-secondary education.”

Gila Ridge High school followed San Luis, with a college-going rate of 69.3 percent.

“At Gila Ridge, and as a district, we strive to create a college going culture and ensure that EVERY student is college and career ready,” said Principal Shawn Wehrer. “This data gives us evidence that our students are feeling confident and prepared to enter college after high school.”

Partnering with the Helios Education Foundation, YUHSD has taken huge steps in creating a career-readiness and college-going culture over the past five years by embracing the rigorous Cambridge curriculum, supporting Career and Technical Education programs and instructors, forging agreements to offer dual credit and enrollment courses with Arizona Western College, and supporting teachers with professional development and above-average starting salaries ($43,000 in 2015-2016, according to the district’s compensation packet).

“We are grateful to the parents, businesses and communities who are supportive of our students accomplishing their higher education goals,” Badone said.

Kofa High School followed Gila Ridge with a college-going rate of 69.2 percent; Cibola High School with 65.5; and Yuma High School at 59.7 percent. The district’s alternative school, Vista, sent about 23 percent of its students on to college in the fall of 2015.

Other area high schools, including private and charter schools, also reported college-going statistics.

Yuma Catholic High School Principal Rhett Stallworth said the private college-prep school sends about 97 to 98 percent of its graduating class on to college, with about 3 to 2 percent entering military service.

Antelope Union has a college going rate of 54.3 percent.

The data was collected from the graduating class of 2015, according to the regents’ report.


High school graduation percentage in Yuma

School Name #Grads 2015 # Enrll 15-16 (Pst2nd) Percentage

  • Antelope Union 46 25 54.3%
  • AZTEC High School 43 7 16.3%
  • Carpe Diem Collegiate High School (dba CDe-LC) 16 12 75.0%
  • Cibola High School 525 344 65.5%
  • Educational Opportunity Center 68 16 23.5%
  • Gila Ridge High School 391 271 69.3%
  • Harvest Preparatory Academy 43 25 58.1%
  • Kofa High School 370 256 69.2%
  • PPEP TEC - Cesar Chavez Learning Center 30 13 43.3%
  • PPEP TEC - Jose Yepez Learning Center 16 8 50.0%
  • San Luis High School 511 392 76.7%
  • Vista Alternative School 113 26 23.0%
  • Yuma High School 243 145 59.7%