A recently released California Department of Education report showed San Diego County students and those statewide are increasingly earning diplomas within four years — and fewer of them are dropping out.
SDUSD, at 5.9 percent — down from 8.4 percent a year earlier — had the lowest dropout rate among the state’s large, urban school districts. The next lowest district, San Francisco Unified, was at 10.4 percent. The highest rate, 27 percent, was Oakland Unified.
SDUSD officials credit, in part, aggressive efforts — knocking on doors, calling relatives — to track down truant students for improving graduation rates.
The district also claims its use of high-tech teaching aids, like Netbooks, iPads and computerized smart boards, are paying dividends in engaging students, persuading more of them to stay in school. The district is also heavily invested in programs promoting culinary arts, construction and auto technology, serving job skill-oriented students.
The latest dropout-graduation figures for Preuss at UCSD, High Tech High and High Tech High Media Arts were encouraging, validating those schools’ core
curriculums and classroom philosophies.
High Tech High (HTH) operates 11 schools — two elementary, four middle and five high schools — countywide. Begun in 2000 as a single charter high school launched by a coalition of San Diego business leaders and educators, HTH has evolved into an integrated network of schools spanning grades K-12, housing a comprehensive teacher certification program and a new, innovative Graduate School of Education. High Tech High Media Arts serves about 400 students in grades 9-12 at HTH Village in Point Loma. Founded in 2005, the school implements all HTH design principles and features a strong foundation in liberal arts and sciences.
SDUSD also showed gains in ethnic groups that have been a focus of attendance-improvement efforts. For Hispanic students, a nearly 4-percent increase was registered over 2009-10. The 75.8 percent topped the statewide average of 70.4.