The graduation rate at traditional high schools in the Sequoia Union High School District has fallen during the past three years and dropout rates are on the rise at most schools, according to data released this week by the state Department of Education.
Carlmont High in Belmont boasted highest graduation of the district's four traditional high schools last spring, at 92.8 percent. Still, that was a down a percentage point from the 2010-11 academic year.
Sequoia High in Redwood City had the lowest graduation rate for 2011-12, at 83.1 percent. That's below the San Mateo County average of 83.3 percent. The dropout rate there also soared last year to double-digits.
Woodside High School saw a decline in the dropout rate in 2011-12, but the school's graduation rate is down five percentage points in the past three years. Last year it was at 85.5 percent.Dropout Rates
2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 Carlmont High 5.8 4.0 5.0 Menlo-Atherton High 8.1 6.1 9.3 Sequoia High 8.7 7.2 10.4 Woodside High 5.5 4.9 4.6
Overall, California's graduation rates rose while dropout rates declined, and all Sequoia Union High School District had better marks than the state averages last year.
The state superintendent's office reported 78.5 percent of students statewide who started high school in 2008-2009 graduated last year. That was up 1.4 percentage points from the year before.
Among African-American students, 65.7 percent graduated with their class in 2012, up 2.9 points from the year before.
Among Hispanic students, 73.2 percent graduated in 2012, up 1.8 points from the year before.
There was a corresponding drop in the state's dropout rate.
The superintendent's office reported 13.2 percent of students who began high school in 2008-2009 dropped out. That was down 1.5 percent from the year before.
The dropout rate among African-American students dropped 3.1 points to 22.2 percent. Among Hispanic students, the dropout rate fell 2.1 points to 16.2 percent.
Another 8.3 percent of students were labeled as neither dropouts or graduate. They include special education students, students who passed the GED exam and those who are still in school.
State Superintendent Tom Torlakson said while the trend is positive, California schools still need to do more. He said he'd like to see the graduation rate top 80 percent in the near future and then reach 90 percent by 2020.
He commended local school officials for improving education despite budget cuts the past few years and the fact California is 49th in the nation in education funding.
"As I travel up and down the state, I see great things happening in California schools every day," said Torlakson.
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