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Long Beach Grad Rates Rise Again

Graduation rates in the Long Beach Unified School District have increased for the second year in a row, surpassing state and county rates. Students of color in Long Beach schools also outperform their peers countywide and statewide, in some cases by large margins, according to data released today by the California Department of Education.

“Despite the challenges of poverty and language inherent in a large, urban school system, our students, teachers and schools defy the odds,” LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser said. “These encouraging results are rooted in our firm belief that all students – no matter their station in life – can learn and thrive when provided the right support. We plan to improve on these results through careful and transparent implementation of the state’s new Local Control Funding Formula, which provides flexibility so that individual schools can meet their students’ specific needs.”

Five high schools here posted graduation rates above 90 percent, including the California Academy of Mathematics and Science, along with Renaissance, Millikan, Lakewood and Wilson high schools. Poly, Cabrillo and Jordan high schools all reported graduation rates exceeding the state average of 80.2 percent.

LBUSD’s overall graduation rate is 80.6 percent, up by half a percentage point over last year and surpassing both Los Angeles County’s rate of 77 percent and California’s rate of 80.2 percent.

The school district’s African American and Latino students outperformed their peers at the county and state levels. The African American graduation rate in LBUSD is 79.1 percent, far surpassing California’s rate of 67.9 percent and Los Angeles County’s rate of 68 percent for the same population. LBUSD’s Latino students graduated at a rate of 76.6 percent compared to the state’s 75.4 percent and the county’s 73.4 percent for the same population.

Latinos, African Americans and whites represent the three largest groups of graduates in LBUSD. At several LBUSD high schools, students of color now outperform their white counterparts in terms of graduation rates. At Millikan High School, Latinos graduated at a rate of 94.5 percent, African Americans at 92.4 percent, and whites at 92.1 percent. Latino students at Wilson Classical High School graduated at a rate of 93.1 percent, surpassing the 91.5 percent rate for white students. Latinos at Cabrillo High School graduated at a rate of 81.1 percent, surpassing the 80 percent rate for white students, with African Americans close behind at 79.4 percent. Latinos at Jordan High School graduated at a rate of 84.5 percent, African Americans at 77 percent and whites at 73.9 percent. At Renaissance High School for the Arts, 96 percent of Latinos graduated while 94.4 percent of whites graduated.

“We’re making significant progress toward increasing the achievement of students of color, who as a whole statewide have historically lagged behind their white counterparts,” Steinhauser said. “Efforts to improve college and career readiness for all students are vital to everyone’s future in our diverse state and communities.”

To view and download state, county, district and school graduation and dropout rates, visit the California Department of Education's DataQuest website. Caution is urged when comparing graduation or dropout rates across some individual schools and districts. For example, some county office schools, alternative schools or dropout recovery high schools serve only those students who are already at the greatest risk of dropping out, compared with the broader population at traditional high schools. Therefore, these individual schools and districts cannot be directly compared, according to the CDE.

Graduation and dropout rates for counties, districts and schools across California were calculated based on four-year cohort information using the state's California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS). This is the fourth time this four-year cohort information was calculated, meaning data may only be compared accurately over the four-year period from 2009-10 to 2012-13. Prior to 2009-10, graduation and dropout rates used different calculation systems and cannot be accurately compared to the cohort rates.