Only 55 seniors out of 1,250 from Burbank, Burroughs and Monterey high schools did not graduate or earn a certificate of attendance this past spring or summer, according to a Burbank Unified report released last month during a school board meeting.
While the district’s graduation rate dipped a bit to 95.6% this past school year, Burbank Unified saw some success in encouraging those who left without a diploma or certificate to finish schooling.
“I just want to highlight the good work of our counselors, our teachers [and] our admin,” Burbank Unified Supt. Matt Hill said during the meeting.
“When I came here, this was my No. 1 focus, [to] find out the stories… for all the students that did not graduate,” Hill added.
John Paramo, the school district’s assistant superintendent of education services, said 571 Burbank High seniors either graduated or earned a certificate of attendance, while that number was 586 at Burroughs and 38 at Monterey.
Meanwhile, seven students from Burbank High, 11 from Burroughs and 37 from Monterey did not complete some sort of certificate or diploma at their respective schools.
Of that group, 29 are currently enrolled in a fifth year of schooling, and 26 of them are listed as non-graduates.
Of the non-graduates, some have enrolled in Burbank’s Adult School, looking to recover credit for failed or missing classes, while others will attempt to pass the high-school equivalency exam.
Paramo said students requesting an additional year belong to the district’s English Language Development program and are recent arrivals to Burbank Unified.
“[They] have come into our country either in 11th grade or 12th grade and could not finish all their credits, and they’re given an additional year,” Paramo said.
Burbank Unified lists two ways to complete schooling — one is a diploma and the other is a certificate of attendance.
The latter, generally reserved for special-education students and others with specific disabilities, is awarded by the state to those who have completed 12th grade but lack credits to graduate.
Burbank Unified’s graduation rate of 95.6% for this past year is slightly off from the 2017-18 school year at 97%, which has improved since last fall.
Of that group, Paramo said 14 have since completed their classes, while 23 students remain outstanding, which boosted the district’s actual graduation rate for the 2017-18 school year to 98.2%.
“I love the fact that we see a smaller number that we have to follow up with,” Hill said.
During the past school year, Burbank Unified also graduated a student from the 2016-17 school year, bringing the total remaining from that group to 60 non-graduates.
There are still 26 students from the 2015-16 school year and 15 from the 2014-15 school year who have yet to earn a diploma or certificate.