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Graduation rates continue to rise locally, statewide
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Graduation rates around the state of California climbed for the sixth year in a row in 2015, and local school districts were no exception to the boosted success.

California’s graduation rate for the year 2015 marked a record high for the state, with the biggest jump taking place among English learners and migrant students. Among students who started high school in 2011-12, 82.3 percent graduated with their class in 2015, up 1.3 percent from the previous school year. The state's graduation rate has increased substantially since the class of 2010 posted a 74.7 percent rate.  

Statewide, numerous individual student groups also saw a rise in graduation rates for the 2014-15 school year. The rate of increase among English learners was four percentage points, which is three times the statewide rate. The rate of increase among African Americans was 2.6 percentage points, which is double the statewide rate.

"This is encouraging news any way you look at it, especially since the increase is occurring as we are introducing much more rigorous academic standards," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. "Statewide, our students are benefiting from the additional revenues flowing into our schools. We are bringing back relevant and engaging classes in science, civics, arts, and Career Technical Education that were slashed during the Great Recession. I am also pleased to see the first signs of the narrowing of the pernicious and persistent achievement gap. But a lot of work remains, and our schools still need additional and stable resources."

Not only are graduation rates flourishing at the state level, local school districts like Turlock Unified School District, Hilmar Unified School District and Denair Unified School District all saw percentages of graduation rates that exceeded the statewide average.

Among students who began high school in 2011-12 in TUSD, 94.4 percent graduated with their class in 2015, up a significant 3.6 percent from the previous year. The district also saw a considerable drop in the dropout rate, which went from 7.8 percent in 2014 to 3.2 percent in 2015.

English learners and migrant students within TUSD both experienced a rise in graduation rates. The district saw a significant jump in the percentage of English learner graduates, with 10.1 percent more students graduating in 2014-15 than in 2013-14. The number of migrant students who graduated increased from 82.9 percent in 2013-14 to 86.5 percent for the 2014-15 school year.

Within TUSD, schools also made improvements individually. Turlock High School increased their graduation rate by just .1 percent, with 94.7 percent of students graduating in 2015, compared to a 94.6 percent cohort graduation rate for the 2013-14 school year. The school saw larger improvements to their dropout rate for the 2014-15 school year, going from 3.9 percent the previous year to 2.1 percent.

Pitman High School’s 2014-15 graduation rate far exceeded the state’s average, with 97 percent of students receiving their diplomas. The school’s dropout rate also dropped 1.1 percentage points from the 2013-14 school year.

Continuing the Valley’s academic success, HUSD also had distinguished graduation rates. The district saw a 96.4 percent graduate rate and only a 1.2 percent dropout rate for the 2014-15 school year. Amongst programs offered within the district, 100 percent of special education students graduated, up 15 percent from 2013-14. English learners also graduated at a much higher rate, increasing from 81.6 percent in 2013-14 to 92.9 percent in 2014-15.

DUSD saw a rise in their graduation rates in 2014-15 – a change from rates of past years. From 2011-12 through 2013-14, DUSD’s graduation rate dropped a total of 5.1 percent. But, the district’s rates are now back on the mend after seeing a .1 increase in both graduation and dropout rates for the 2014-15 school year.

 However, Denair High School continues to produce rates above the state average, with 93.8 percent of students graduating. DHS has continuously produced above-average rates, with 93.7 percent of students graduating in 2014, 98.7 percent in 2013 and 98.8 percent in 2012.

“Student graduation rates reflect the dedication of our community and schools to the education and success of our students. No child left behind is not a platitude or vacant slogan at Denair schools but, rather, a practice and commitment to our students,” said DUSD Superintendent Aaron Rosander.