The Sequoia Union High School District ranks above the state average in graduation rates, with Carlmont High School ranked among the top 10 public schools, according to data released by the California Department of Educations on Wednesday.
Graduation rates among California's public school students, overall are climbing and dropout rates are falling, with the biggest gains being made among English learners and the state's largest minority groups.
More than three quarters, or 76.3 percent, of students who started high school in 2007 graduated with their class in 2011. That is up 1.5 percentage points from the 2010 graduation rate. Larger gains were seen among Hispanic and African American students at 2.2 and 2.3 percentage points respectively, with the biggest increase being among English learners at 3.8 percentage points. The graduation rate for socioeconomically disadvantaged students climbed nearly 2 percentage points, from 68.1 to 70 percent.
The Sequoia district schools recorded a graduation rate of 84.9 percent, though that's a slight dip from 2009, when the rate was 85.2. Carlmont High led all district schools with a 93 percent graduation rate while Sequoia was at 82.9 percent.
Carlmont also scored at or above the the statewide performance target (800) for the fourth consecutive school year, scoring a district best 857, slightly better than Summit Prep Charter School's 853.
"Every graduate represents a success story in one of the most effective job and anti-poverty programs ever conceived, our public schools," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said. "These numbers are a testament to the hard work of teachers and administrators, of parents and, most of all, of the students themselves. While they are a great illustration of all that is going right in California schools, they should also remind us that schools need our support to continue to improve so that every student graduates prepared for college, a career, and to contribute to our state's future."
Beyond the 76.3 percent graduation rate and the 14.4 percent dropout rate, the remaining 9.3 percent are students who are neither graduates nor dropouts. Some are still enrolled in school (8.6 percent). Others are non-diploma special education students (0.4 percent), and some elected to pass a high school equivalency exam.
Graduation and dropout rates for counties, districts, and schools across California were calculated based on four-year cohort, referring to this particular group of students, information using the state's California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS).
This is the second time this four-year cohort information was collected, making this the first time that it can be compared year to year. With two years of data, the cohort rates will now be used to determine whether schools have met their targets for increasing the graduation rate for the Adequate Yearly Progress reporting under the federal school accountability system.
"Our research shows that chronic absence from school, even as early as kindergarten, is a strong indicator of whether a child will drop out of school later," Torlakson said. "The dropout rate shows there's still much work to be done, particularly to address the needs of disadvantaged and minority students. We must build on our work with parents and communities in the earliest years to pave the way for kids to succeed in school."
Carlmont High also led the district in lowest percentage of truancy.
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