Nearly a dozen South L.A. high schools have followed a positive statewide trend of rising graduation rates while simultaneously lowering the percentage of dropouts, according to data from the California Department of Education.
Schools with the highest graduation rates for the 2013-14 school year include Thirty-Second Street USC Performing Arts with a 100 percent graduation rate; Foshay Learning Center and Middle College High, each with 99 percent; King/Drew Medical Magnet with 96 percent and the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies with 95 percent.
Of the South L.A. high schools, even those with the lowest percentage of graduates recorded graduation rates that were only 10 percent below the LAUSD district-wide graduation rate of 70.4 percent, with a majority of them on an upward trend.
The growing percentage of students receiving high school diplomas marks the fifth consecutive year of improvement statewide, according to state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.
Around the state, a record high of 80.8 percent of California students who started high school in the 2010-11 school year graduated in 2014—an increase of .4 percent from the class of 2013.
“Our record high graduation rate is great news, especially since it is occurring at the same time we are raising academic standards,” Torlakson said in a news release.
Torlakson also credited the dramatic statewide changes in school curriculum as playing a role in the improved graduation rate and lowered number of dropouts.
“We have raised academic standards, started online testing, given local districts more flexibility in spending and provided more resources to students who need it most,” Torlakson said.
In addition, LAUSD reported that graduation rates rose among all racial and ethnic groups, with Latino, Asian, African American and white students increasing 2013-14 graduation rates by at least 12 percentage points for the first time ever. There was smaller but still notable improvement among other groups of students.
L.A. School Board President Dr. Richard Vladovic said that he is proud of the district’s improvement, noting his optimism that it will meet its goal of 100 percent graduation.
All students measured by race rose by double-digit margins. Black students increased 17 percentage points to 71 percent. The remaining groups gained 12 percentages in graduation rates, boosting Latinos to 76 percent; whites to 84 percent and Asians to 87 percent.
“A lot of hard work from our staff and students has gone into achieving this 12% increase,” said Vladovic on the LAUSD website. “I am sure we will continue on this upward trajectory.”
In a city often recognized for out-of-this-world cuisine, and its shining film stars, LAUSD continues to set its sights on the moon.