About 95 percent of students graduate from all Poway Unified School District high schools, according to state data released Thursday that for the first time tracked individual students over four years.
"For far too long, the discussion about graduation and dropout rates has revolved around how the results were obtained," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a statement. "Now, we can focus on the much more important issue of how to raise the number of graduates and lower the number of dropouts."
Statewide, about three out of four students graduate from high school and a little more than 18 percent drop out, according to the new tracking system, the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement System (CALPADS). The previous rate calculation method did not account for students who transferred in and out of schools, making it difficult to compare these newest figures with past data.
In each system, PUSD campuses fared better than both the state and county. For the 2009-10 school year, for which the new system was used, 95 percent of PUSD students graduated, compared to 73.8 percent across the county, and 74.4 percent across the state.
State and county figures, unlike individual high schools, include data from county-run dropout recovery programs which tends to make individual schools' graduation rates higher.
Among PUSD schools, Westview High has the highest graduation rate at more than 98 percent. Mount Carmel has the highest dropout rate of 1.9 percent, though that is far below county and state rates and only tenths of a point above other district high schools.
At all levels—district, county and state—there is a disparity between the graduation and dropout rates of minority students and white students, termed the achievement gap. The gap for PUSD, however, is far narrower than at the other levels with nearly nine out of 10 African-American and Hispanic or Latino students graduating, compared to 96 percent of white students.
In 2008-9, under the previous calculation system, PUSD's graduation rate was 97.5 percent; the county, 79.4 percent; the state, 78.6 percent.2009-10* Graduation Rate Dropout Rate RB High 95.6% 1.6% Poway High 95.8% 1.1% Mt. Carmel 96.4% 1.9% Westview 98.5% 0.3% District 95% 2.4% County 73.8% 15.9% State 74.4% 18.2%
* Source: California Department of Education