San Diego Unified announces historic progress in closing achievement gap

Posted: Friday, June 10th 2016

San Diego Unified announces historic progress in closing achievement gap

With graduation just over a week away, San Diego Unified is reporting historic progress in closing the achievement gap. Following up on the announcement of 92 percent of high school seniors on track to graduate district wide, San Diego Unified released figures for subpopulations on track to graduate, including African American, Hispanic and English learner students.

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“This is a historic day for San Diego Unified, especially for our students. Our students have performed exceptionally well and I want to thank our partners who helped make this progress possible,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten.  “This effort began with a challenge from our partners like Alliance San Diego. It became a commitment from our Board of Education. Then, our talented educators and administrators made it their mission to close the achievement gap. We are so grateful for everyone’s work on this vital issue.”

San Diego Unified reports the percentage of African American students on track to graduate is now at 91.4% -- just shy of the district-wide average of 92 percent. The graduation rate for Hispanic students has also shown remarkable growth, up 37.6 percent. Comparing the class of 2016, from after their junior year to May of their senior year, the number of English learners on track to graduate has more than doubled.

The increase in the percentage of students on track to graduate comes at the same time as new, more rigorous A-G graduation requirements have taken effect. In order to earn a San Diego Unified diploma, students must now pass more than a dozen courses needed to attend a California public university. The A-G standards are designed to prepare more students for college and a career.

Another reason the Class of 2016 is more prepared academically for the future is the large number of advanced classes San Diego Unified now offers, many through partnerships with local colleges and universities. More than 1,600 students are taking college classes while still in high school, up 75 percent from last year, and many more students are benefitting from Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses.

“These numbers prove that when you expect more out of students, they achieve more,” said Superintendent Marten.  “This progress is irreversible, and we expect rising graduation rates into the foreseeable future.”

Comparing the class of 2017 to the class of 2016 after their sophomore years, 11.8 percent more students in the class of 2017 are on track to graduate. Data also shows 24 percent more African American students and 18 percent more Hispanic students in the class of 2017 are on track to graduate compared to the class of 2016 after their sophomore year.
English learners make up nearly 25 percent of San Diego Unified’s student population. Hispanics account for 44.8 percent of students in the district, and African-Americans make up 8.3 percent of the district’s student population. 
Parents, community members and media who wish to learn more about the additional supports for English language learners and closing the achievement gap built into the LCAP are encouraged to attend the 2016-17 LCAP Board of Education workshop taking place on Tuesday, June 14, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Ballard Parent Center, 2375 Congress Street, Old Town, San Diego.

Questions regarding the LCAP can be emailed to

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