Graduation rates in the Long Beach Unified School District increased for the sixth year in a row, again surpassing state and county rates. Students of color in Long Beach schools also outperformed their peers countywide and statewide, and eight high schools here reported graduation rates above 90 percent.
LBUSD’s overall graduation rate is 86 percent, up 1.8 percent over last year and surpassing both Los Angeles County’s rate of 80.8 percent and California’s 82.7 percent.
The increase in graduation rates here was achieved despite a tightening of criteria by the California Department of Education, which describes the latest “four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate” data as a new baseline because the state is no longer counting students who receive diplomas from adult education programs as graduates.
“We continue to see an encouraging trend of improvement here,” Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser said. “These steady gains are the result of a concerted effort to provide additional support to students who need extra help. By providing students better access to college level courses and exams, and by working closely with our community partners though The Long Beach College Promise and other initiatives, we’re preparing more students for success in college, careers and life.”
Even as LBUSD graduation rates improve, so does the value of a Long Beach diploma. More students here are completing the “A-G” entrance requirements to the University of California and California State University systems. Data for 2016-17 show that 49 percent of students here met those requirements, and the school district’s projected A-G completion rate for 2017-18 is 56 percent, an improvement of eight percentage points in just one year, and an increase of 19 percentage points since 2011-12. Students who do not meet A-G requirements can still attend colleges and universities that are not part of the UC and CSU systems, including community colleges.
The eight high schools now posting graduation rates above 90 percent include the California Academy of Mathematics and Science (at 100 percent), along with Avalon, McBride, Lakewood, Millikan, Poly, Renaissance and Wilson high schools.
Nearing the 90 percent mark is Cabrillo High School at 88.1 percent, and Jordan High School at 88.4 percent. Both Cabrillo and Jordan surpass county and state rates.
The school district’s African American and Latino students also outperformed their peers at the county and state levels. The African American graduation rate in LBUSD is 85.5 percent, far surpassing both California’s rate of 73.1 percent and the county’s rate of 73.4 percent for the same subgroup. LBUSD’s Latino students graduated at a rate of 84 percent compared to the state’s 80.3 percent and the county’s 80 percent for the same subgroup.
Educators here analyze data by school and demographic subgroups to make sure they provide support where it’s needed most. Such analysis is part of the school district’s careful implementation of the state’s Local Control Funding Formula, which provides flexibility so that individual schools can meet their students’ specific needs.