LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The graduation rate for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Class of 2016 was 75 percent, a new high mark for the district, Superintendent Michelle King announced Tuesday.
King delivered made the announcement as part of her first State of the District address at James A. Garfield High School in East Los Angeles.
She said the rate topped the “expectations of those who said our students couldn’t do it.” She added: “Our students can and will thrive to meet the standards of the 21st Century.”
The graduation rate topped last year’s mark of 72.2 percent and continued what has been a steady increase over the past six years.
The district’s graduation rate in 2009-10 was 62.4 percent.
King said particularly satisfying about the latest increase was the fact that this year’s class was the first required to meet tougher graduation standards, including the completion of so-called “A-G” college-prep courses.
King also touted notable increases in proficiency rates in math and English, in some cases by as much as seven percentage points.
She also outlined major steps planned for the district in coming months, including the introduction of 16 magnet programs at various campuses, expansion of dual-language and bilingual programs and a commitment to bolstering arts programs.
King also said classes being held in bungalows would be moved to modern classrooms, and the district will work to boost attendance.
“Attendance is the strongest predictor of high school graduation,” King said just a one-percent increase in attendance can mean an additional $40 million in state funding for the district.