High school graduation rates move up across county


Students in public high schools in San Mateo County are graduating at a higher rate, according to state data for the four-year period from 2010 to 2014. The graduation rates are up significantly for student groups with traditionally lower graduation rates.

Students of color, students with socio-economic disadvantages, special-education students and students whose first language is not English all graduated at notably higher rates, county officials said.

As a whole, the graduation rate in 2014 was 87.7 percent (up 5.9 percentage points from 2010), said Nancy Magee of the county Office of Education.

The rate was 87 percent for students who identify ethnically as Pacific Islanders, a jump of 20.6 points, and 79.4 percent (up 11.8 points) for African-American students, she said.

The graduation rate rose 9 points to 69.5 percent for special-education students. Among students considered English-language learners, the rate was 71.9 percent (up 10.8 points).

Students classified as socio-economically disadvantaged students who receive federally subsidized lunch or whose parents did not graduate from high school graduated at a rate of 80.1 percent in 2014 (up 6.1 points).

The rate for Hispanic students was up by 6.8 points at 79.3 percent.

State data showed white students in the county graduated at rate of 92.5 percent in 2014, a 3.6 point increase, and Asian students at 95.7 percent, which is up by 4.2 points.

This data reflects close tracking of these students as groups, Ms. Magee said. In the past, graduation and dropout rates were less accurate, in part because it was harder to track students who moved to other high schools.

Graduation rates have been rising around the state for the past five years, a reflection of educators' focus on narrowing the achievement gap, Ms. Magee said. "There's been a steady focus on how to meet the needs of all kids," she said.

Included in that focus are more welcoming school climates, more thoughtful disciplinary methods, personalized learning. social and emotional supports, and the advent of the Common Core curriculum, which puts an emphasis on creativity in the classroom and teacher collaboration across academic disciplines, Ms. Magee said.

Note: An earlier story reported gains in graduation rates but did not include the actual rates.

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