Fewer Glendale students dropping out of school

The number of students dropping out of Glendale Unified high schools has declined significantly during the past four years, from 120 during the 2009-10 school year to 35 last year, according to a new report.

However, the number of graduates meeting requirements to enter the University of California and California State University systems is in need of some improvement, officials said.

Districtwide, the percentage of students meeting UC/CSU requirements climbed only 1%, edging up to 48.2%, according to a report presented to the Glendale Unified School Board Tuesday.

The districtwide graduation rate increased to 88.1% last school year, up from 85.5% three years earlier, the report states.

Looking at individual schools, Clark Magnet High School had the highest graduation rates, maintaining between 95.4% and 100% during the past four years, and there was only one dropout during that time.

Also, almost 79.7% of the graduating class at Clark met UC/CSU requirements.

The graduation rate at Crescenta Valley High School stayed between 93.8% and 95.7%, and there were no more than four dropouts in any year.

Consistently, almost 62% of Crescenta Valley graduates leave meeting the UC/CSU requirements.

Glendale High School has maintained a graduation rate of 88% the past four years, and the number of dropouts declined from 29 during the 2009-10 school year to 11 last year.

However, the percentage of students meeting UC/CSU requirements has declined, with last year coming in at 31% — the lowest in the past four years. The highest rate in the past four years was 38.2%.

The graduation rate at Hoover High maintained between 84.6% and 88.2%, while the number of dropouts went from 14 during the 2010-11 school year to only three last year.

The number of Hoover students who met UC/CSU requirements remained relatively low at 34.3%, with the school's all-time high during the past four years being only 34.5%.

The Verdugo Academy, which is an independent study school, also saw its dropout rate reduce from four to zero and the Daily Continuation High School reported its dropout percentage cut in half, from 32 in 2009-10 to 16 last school year.

Glendale Supt. Richard Sheehan said the lower dropout rates can be attributed to the growing number of programs the district has started that are geared to keeping students in school.

“We're doing a better job of catching kids prior to high school and getting them better services,” he said.

Sheehan also said the district will look into why some schools have lower percentages of students who meet UC/CSU requirements, beginning with looking at the curriculum.

“Are we missing with one class? Are we missing with two classes? Are we missing in math, English-language arts, science, getting the kids electives?” he asked.

“Potentially it's an easy fix or it's a more complicated fix,” he added.

Board member Christine Walters said school officials may want to look at when students get off track toward reaching UC/USC requirements.

“Are they on track through 11th grade?” she asked, adding that then when they know their college plans and they don't include a state public university, the students don't worry about meeting those requirements.

“At what point are they getting off track and how far off track — because it may be a choice,” she said.

Sheehan added that the lower rates could be tied to graduates going to out-of-state schools.


Follow Mark Kellam on Twitter: @LAMarkKellam.


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