By Sara Hall | NB Indy
More Newport-Mesa district students are leaving high school with diplomas in hand than expected, according to a recent independent study.
Although graduation rates for high school seniors across the country have dropped to 68 percent in recent years, according to the study, Newport-Mesa Unified School District had an 86 percent graduation rate, 29 points over the NMUSD expected rate of 57 percent.
“We’re obviously thrilled,” said district spokesperson Laura Boss. “And this is a credit to our teachers, principals and staff – and students, of course – for the great job they do at the schools.”
The study was done as part of the “Diploma Count 2010” by Education Week and Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, a nonprofit organization in Bethesda, Md. According to the report, this is the second consecutive year that graduation rates nationally have gone down.
One reason why the graduation rates at NMUSD have done better than expected, according to Superintendent Jeffrey Hubbard, is that there are many options for students who are struggling in high school, including programs that allow students to take community college classes.
The collaborative approach for student progress is an important reason for the high graduation rates, said Hubbard. He added that when he was hired the school board stressed that they did not want a single student to drop out.
The district’s 22,000 students cover the gamut of socioeconomic backgrounds in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, according to the report.
There were 151 large urban school districts that were studied and the top districts were calculated based on their graduation rates relative to the expectation rates based on district size, poverty level and other characteristics. Out of all the districts studied, only 21 school systems beat the expected graduation rate by 10 points or more.
“We’re ecstatic over the success of our secondary schools,” Boss said. “It’s a great accomplishment and our schools are to be commended.”