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Santa Monica-Malibu School District Grad Rates Continue to Climb

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By Lookout Staff

May 1, 2014 - - District officials celebrated the Santa Monica and Malibu schools’ “remarkable” 2013 graduation rate Tuesday.

According to the California Department of Education, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s graduation rate was 93.5 percent in 2013, compared to an 83.8 percent graduation rate in 2010.

The District’s graduation rate was also well above the County and State average, 77 and 80 percent respectively, according to the Department’s report.

“These increases reflect the collaborative effort of the entire SMMUSD community -- students, teachers, administrators, and parents -- as we work to prepare every student for college and careers,” said Sandra Lyon, the District’s superintendent since 2011.

While demographic analysis shows that the graduation rate for African-American and Latino students also increased, the two groups remain below the District average.

From 2010 to 2011, the graduation rate for African-American students went from about 80 percent to nearly 91 percent, but decreased again to 85.5 percent in 2012. In 2013, 92.1 percent of African-American students graduated.

Latino students have seen their graduation rates climb steadily from about 80 percent in 2010 to 90.1 percent in 2013.

“Seeing the disaggregated results is very encouraging,” said Dr. Terry Deloria, the District’s assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction.

“The gains for nearly all groups are quite positive,” she said.

According to District officials, “the grad rate for socio-economically disadvantaged students climbed 4.9 percentage points.”

And, “the most dramatic gain in grad rate was for students with disabilities, with a 12.1 percentage point increase over 2012,” officials said.

English-language learners, however, continue to struggle. In 2010, 64.1 percent of English-learners graduated, compared to 84.1 percent in 2012. In 2013, their graduation rate dropped to 80 percent.

“We will have to do further analysis of our English learners in order to determine what may have contributed to the one-year decline for that particular group of students,” Deloria said.

District officials noted that students also are dropping out at lower rates.

The District’s dropout rate -- the rate of that students leave the 9-12 school system without a high school diploma, GED, or special education certificate of completion -- now stands at 1.1 percent, compared to 4.6 percent in the County and 3.9 percent in the State.

Santa Monica High School’s graduation rate climbed to 96.5 percent, nearly matching Malibu High School’s 97.2 graduation rate in 2013.

In 2010, Santa Monica High (Samohi) lagged behind Malibu with an 85 percent graduation rate, compared to Malibu’s 91.6 percent.

Principal Eva Mayoral said, “Samohi students and staff commit themselves to excellence on a daily basis.  It is phenomenal to see that investment pay off in such a profound way.”

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