SFUSD graduation rate reaches six-year high

San Francisco Unified School District’s graduation rate grew again last school year, reaching its highest point in at least six years, according to data released by the state Tuesday.

The SFUSD graduation rate was 84.9 percent in the 2014-15 school year and 83.9 percent in the 2013-14 school year. By comparison, the statewide graduation rate was 82.3 percent last school year and 81 percent the year prior.

Though the district experienced positive movement in both its dropout rate and graduation rate, the new California Department of Education data still shows disparities in both those rates for black and Latino students when compared to their white and Asian peers.

The district’s rate has grown since 2012-13, when it was at 81.7 percent. It fell from 82.3 percent the year prior.

In addition to rising graduation rates in the district, the dropout rate of SFUSD students has continued to fall year after year. It decreased from 11.3 percent in 2009-10 to 7 percent last school year, according to state data.

School officials determine graduation rates by following a group of students through four years of high school, referred to as a cohort. The latest cohort data reflects students who enrolled in ninth grade in the 2011-12 school year.

The group of SFUSD graduates last school year was the first to be tracked for a full four years by an early warning system that flagged students who were at risk of not graduating.

Beginning in 2012-13, students who showed signs of dropping out were given extra support in the classroom.

“SFUSD has a lot to be proud of,” Board of Education President Matt Haney said in a statement. “We set higher standards for graduation and provided the support for our students to meet a higher bar, and they did.”

The graduation rates of black and Latino students also rose last school year compared with the year before, while dropout rates decreased.

Of the Latino students who began ninth grade in 2011-12, 72.7 percent graduated last school year while 12.5 percent dropped out. Those numbers were 69.3 percent and 14.2 percent in 2013-14, respectively.

As for black students, 71.2 percent finished school in 2014-15. The year prior, the graduation rate for that group was 64.3 percent.

Black students, however, continued to have one of the highest dropout rates of any ethnicity in the district. Last school year, 16.4 percent of black students in the class dropped out.

The graduation rate of white SFUSD students fell slightly but remained more than 80 percent again last school year, while the rate of Asian students remained over 90 percent.

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