BY CARY ROSENBAUM
MISSION – Nixyaawii Community School reported highlights for the 2020-2021 school year in January. Among the success, the school has increased its overall graduation rates each of the past four years — including rising above the state average in Native American graduation rate. Noticeably, though, NCS increased it’s overall student graduation rates above the state average (82.76 compared to 80.63) for the first time since 2017-18, when its 58.82 percent was nearly 20 percent under the state average. “We know we still have room for improvement, but we also have to be proud of the gains we have made,” NCS Principal Ryan Heinrich said. “Great job to my staff. We are also one of the few high schools that saw an increase in grad rates during the 20-21 CDL/COVID year.” Heinrich said NCS students were only in-person for 1/4 of the year. “I attribute our success to several non-traditional things we tried, here are a few: day camp, teacher weekly contacts, hands-on summer school, online summer school, allowing students to work on incompletes, having teachers available every Friday, having open gym, getting kids into the building in small groups and all the other little things the staff did,” Heinrich said. “The things we did worked. This shows that we had a pretty deep connection with those seniors as well as the other students.” Last school year, NCS had an 88 percent Native American graduation rate — compared to the statewide average of 67. Low socio economic status students also succeeded at NCS, with an 84 percent compared to the state average of 76.99. NCS’ dropout rate also declined for the third year in a row, according to Heinrich.