The graduation rate at traditional high schools throughout Marin far outpace the state average and dropout rates at most local schools are minuscule, according to data released this week by the state Department of Education.
Both San Marin and Novato experienced sharp declines in dropout rates. Novato High's dropout rate for the 2010-11 school year was 8 percent, but that dropped to 4.9 percent for the 2011-12 year. In San Marin, the dropout rate dropped from 4.3 to 2.6 percent.
San Rafael High, which had the lowest graduation rate in Marin at 87.7 percent last year, reported the largest dropout rate: 8.9 percent. Those are steep declines after the school had a banner year performance in 2010-11.High School 2012 Graduation Rate 2011 Graduation Rate 2012 Dropout Rate 2011 Dropout Rate Redwood High School
98.2 98.4 1.2 .8 San Andreas High School (continuation) NA NA NA NA Sir Francis Drake High School 99.2 98.8 0 .8 Tamalpais High School 96.7 96.9 2.7 1.3 Tamiscal High School (alternative) 95.7 96.6 4.3 3.4
2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 Novato High 3.1 8.0 4.9 Redwood High 0.3 0.8 1.2 San Marin High 2.2 4.3 2.6 San Rafael High 10.2 2.8 8.9 Sir Francis Drake High 0.4 0.8 0.0 Tamalpais High 1.7 1.3 2.7 Terra Linda High 6.4 6.7 6.4
Overall, California's graduation rates rose while dropout rates declined.
The state superintendent's office reported 78.5 percent of students statewide who started high school in 2008-2009 graduated last year. That was up 1.4 percentage points from the year before.
Among African-American students, 65.7 percent graduated with their class in 2012, up 2.9 points from the year before.
Among Hispanic students, 73.2 percent graduated in 2012, up 1.8 points from the year before.
There was a corresponding drop in the state's dropout rate.
The superintendent's office reported 13.2 percent of students who began high school in 2008-2009 dropped out. That was down 1.5 percent from the year before.
The dropout rate among African-American students dropped 3.1 points to 22.2 percent. Among Hispanic students, the dropout rate fell 2.1 points to 16.2 percent.
Another 8.3 percent of students were labeled as neither dropouts or graduate. They include special education students, students who passed the GED exam and those who are still in school.
State Superintendent Tom Torlakson said while the trend is positive, California schools still need to do more. He said he'd like to see the graduation rate top 80 percent in the near future and then reach 90 percent by 2020.
He commended local school officials for improving education despite budget cuts the past few years and the fact California is 49th in the nation in education funding.
"As I travel up and down the state, I see great things happening in California schools every day," said Torlakson.
Dean E. Vogel, president of the California Teachers Association, also viewed the data as positive.
“It’s hopeful news that California’s student graduation rate continues to improve despite record cuts to public education in recent years. Nearly eight out of 10 students who started high school in 2008 as the Great Recession hit our nation graduated in 2012," he said in a prepared statement. "... despite soaring class sizes, layoffs and program cuts over the past several years, teachers are proudly watching more of their students receive high school diplomas and a chance at college and a better future. That will always be good news."