California graduation rate more than 76 percent

June 27, 2012 8:44:16 PM PDT
The graduation rate in California is now more than 76 percent. But there is room for improvement. A new effort has tracked students over the past four years and the look at where graduation rates stand across the state was released Wednesday.

A summer program in San Francisco focuses on giving high school students extra academic help is just one of many similar programs statewide programs. Many students in the program are English language learners.

It's no coincidence that California's graduation rate among ELL students increased by 3.8 percent. The figures show that Hispanic and African American students also did better.

"It gives a lot of motivation, it helps you with projects and getting to know yourself as well as others," student Daveyon Sampson said.

The program is called the Summer Youth Academic and Employment Program. It runs for five weeks, funded by the city. The goal is to keep high school students on track for graduation.

"It keeps them in school and motivates them and the sooner they understand how well they do in school today and how that relates to how successful they will be in life in general, the better they do and perform in school," Young Community Developers, Inc. spokesperson Shamann Walton said.

This is one of several early intervention programs in the district and according to the state Department of Education those programs are making a difference in the overall graduation rate.

But Arun Ramanathan of Education Trust West says despite the increase, Latinos and African Americans still lag behind.

"Roughly a third of Latino students are not graduating in four years and nearly 40 percent of African American students aren't graduating in four years," Ramanathan said.

Charles Ollie is one of the students taking advantage of the program. But he says some just give up.

"They just say it's not worth it anymore with our economy falling and they just believe it's pointless," he said.

The data is collected by the state using a relatively new tracking system put in place only in the past four years.

Tuesday, San Francisco's Board of Education voted to pour more money into summer programs that help high school students get the credits they need to graduate. The money is coming from both the district and the city. San Francisco's saw a gain in its graduate rate. It's now at 82 percent, higher than the state average.


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