The graduation rate for San Diego Unified high school students has continued to increase while dropout rates decline, according to a report released this week by the California Department of Education.
The report says the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) has the lowest dropout rate among the nine largest urban school districts in California. That rate is 6.2 percent.
In 2012, the SDUSD had 86.9 percent of its students graduate, according to the report. That figure was an increase of 1.6 percent compared to 2011 and 4.7 percent more than in 2010. Overall, the SDUSD leads the San Diego County average graduation rate by 8.4 percentage points.
The California Department of Education says only one large school district in California had a higher graduation rate than the SDUSD’s rate, Garden Grove with 87.8 percent.
Other large districts mentioned in the report include San Francisco with a graduation rate of 82.2 percent and Oakland with 73.3 percent. Compared to San Diego’s 6.2 percent dropout rate, the next lowest dropout rate was San Francisco at 10 percent.
This marks the third year in a row that the SDUSD’s graduation rates have increased.
Superintendent Bill Kowba sees the rising statistics as a sign of success.
"This continued improvement means that our district, and most importantly our students, are on the right path," said Kowba in a statement released Tuesday. "To have a nearly five percent jump in just three years shows the outstanding work done every day by everyone in the San Diego Unified School District."
Among Hispanic SDUSD students, the dropout rate was 9.9 percent, unchanged from last year. The graduation rate among this group rose to 80.2 percent from 78 percent.
Among African American SDUSD students, the dropout rate declined to 7 percent from 7.7 percent and the graduation rate increased to 83.9 percent to 81.8 percent in 2011. In 2010, the graduation rate among African American students was 76.9 percent.
Across the county – including all districts in addition to the SDUSD – the average graduation rate is 78.4 percent, with a dropout rate of 10.4 percent. The dropout rate is based on the number of students who enter 12th grade but fail to graduate, according to the California Department of Education.