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News Section: Schools and Education

State and Local Graduation Rates on the Rise

Published Thursday, December 12, 2013 12:03 am

MANATEE COUNTY -- Graduation rates at Manatee County public high schools are on the rise, mirroring a statewide trend of more graduates and fewer dropouts. MCSD's graduation rate was 76.8 percent for the 2012-2013 school year, slightly higher than the statewide graduation rate of 75.6 percent, and .6 percent higher than the previous year. Meanwhile, dropouts have dropped to 1.6 percent, which is also slightly lower than last years rate.

Florida's federal graduation rate rose to a new mark of 75.6 percent, continuing an upward trend of students graduating from high school within four years. Florida's federal graduation rate has jumped more than five percentage points since 2010-11, while MCSD's has risen 14.3% over the district’s graduation rate of 62.5% recorded for the 2007-2008 school year.

Mike McCann, the Manatee District’s Supervisor of Dropout Prevention, credited a number of factors for the positive trends experienced by the district, including the increase in academic options at district high schools, such as a wide variety of career academies and career readiness programs.

In addition, McCann said the district’s LIFE (Learning Is For Everyone) Program allows at-risk students to obtain important credit recovery courses during two to three hour stints at night or during the day. There are currently 325 students involved in the LIFE Program, which is offered at each traditional high school and at the Tillman and Harllee Full-Service Centers.

“The consistent, positive trend in the Manatee District’s graduation and dropout rates is great news for our students and community,” said Superintendent Rick Mills. “I want to thank everyone inside and outside of the school district who has worked so hard to achieve these impressive results.”

There continues to be large gaps in rates among students of different races at some schools. At Southeast High, 94 percent of white students graduated, while only 78 percent of black and 76 percent of Latino students did. At Palmetto High, 93 percent of white students graduated, while 80 percent of black and 79 percent of Latino students did.

The gaps were narrower at Bayshore and Lakewood Ranch, while Braden River and Manatee high schools had the narrowest gaps. At Braden River, graduation rates among blacks was highest at 95.12, while white students graduated at 95.01 percent and Latino students at 94 percent. At Manatee, 94 percent of white students, 90 percent of black students and 89 percent of Latino students graduated.

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