BALDWIN PARK – Baldwin Park Unified raised its graduation rate to an all-time high of 93.9 percent in 2014-15, closing the achievement gap for the District’s significant populations of Hispanic and socio-economically disadvantaged students.
The graduation rate for Hispanics mirrored the District’s overall figure of 93.9 percent while students from low-income households did even better, topping out at 94.1 percent. The rate for English learners also improved significantly, climbing from 85.6 percent in 2013-14 to 90.3 percent.
Rates soared to 100 percent for the District’s small populations of migrant, African American, Pacific Islander, Filipino and White students – with numbers for African Americans leaping by more than 20 percentage points.
“We are immensely proud of this achievement,” Superintendent Froilan N. Mendoza said. “It is a testament to the dedication of our talented cadre of teachers and staff and to the hard work of our students to achieve their best.”
The rates are for a four-year cohort of students who enrolled in high school as freshmen in 2011-12. This is the sixth year California has used the method for measuring graduation rates, aided by a data system that tracks students when they switch schools, drop out or continue their education without graduating. The federal government now uses a similar four-year cohort model.
California's overall graduation rate has risen dramatically since 2009-10, peaking this year at 82.3 percent, up from 74.7 percent. Baldwin Park Unified's graduation rate started much higher – at 88 percent – and the District consistently outperforms the state’s rate.
Mendoza credits the improvement to a series of District initiatives designed to boost student outcomes. Teachers meet regularly in forums where they can review student performance data and collaborate on ways to refine lesson approaches.
Classes emphasize project-based learning, allowing students to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world situations. The approach works hand in hand with Baldwin Park Unified’s focus on critical thinking, student collaboration, communication and creativity.
Finally, teachers, administrators and staff stress the importance of planning for college, careers and achieving life goals, helping students to deepen their motivation to succeed.
“These results really help to validate our continuing focus on avenues to student success,” Board of Education President Christina Lucero said. “We have an extraordinary team in place at Baldwin Park Unified, strongly focused on helping students prepare for their futures.”