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Grad Rates Rise In Vista Unified With Fewer Dropouts

By   /  May 19, 2016  /  No Comments



Ray Huard … More students are graduating after four years of high school and fewer are dropping out in the Vista Unified School District, according to figures released this week by the California Department of Education.

Since 2013, the graduation rate in Vista Unified has gone from 81.1 percent for the class of 2013 to 84.8 percent for the class of 2015.

During the same period, the dropout rate has decreased from 9 percent to 7.9 percent.

“We are thrilled to see improvements in our graduation rates and reductions in our dropout rate,” Superintendent Devin Vodicka said.

“This has been a high priority established by our school board,” Vodicka said. “These positive results are the direct result of concerted action from our dedicated students, staff, and community partners.”

Countywide, the graduation rate for the class of 2015 was 81.8 percent. Statewide, it was 82.3 percent, up from 74.7 percent in 2010.

“This is encouraging news any way you look at it, especially since the increase is occurring as we are introducing much more rigorous academic standards,” said state Superintendent of Instruction Tom Torlakson.

“Statewide, our students are benefitting from the additional revenues flowing into our schools,” Torlakson said. “We are bringing back relevant and engaging classes in science, civics, arts and Career Technical Education that were slashed during the Great Recession.”

Along with the increased graduation rate statewide, the dropout rate declined from 11.5 percent in 2014 to 10.7 percent in 2015.

The figures for Vista show the district has made significant progress in a short period, said Craig Wiblemo, the district’s director of measuring and monitoring.

“These numbers are typically hard to move and these were significant bumps,” Wiblemo said. “It’s a pretty good increase and we’re definitely happy about it.”

Despite the improvement in graduation and dropout rates, Vodicka said “We still have room to improve and we are committed to continuing our efforts as we implement the Blueprint for Educational Excellence and Innovation.”

The blueprint outlines Vista Unified plans as the district moves to integrate digital technology in the classroom and changes in teaching methods which emphasize critical thinking, collaboration and innovation.

Wiblemo said he expects graduation rates to continue to rise as a result of those changes, along with the district’s growing emphasis on personalized learning in which lessons are tailored to meet the needs of individual students, who often work independently with guidance from teachers.

“More and more schools are meeting students where they are,” Wiblemo said. “There’s more of a focus on that.”

The district’s WAVE Pact agreement with California State University San Marcos also is having an effect by guaranteeing slots at the university to students who maintain good grades and meet certain other requirements, Wiblemo said.

“I think that’s huge,” Wiblemo said.

The rate of students who didn’t complete high school in four years but are still enrolled for a fifth year of high school went from 9 percent in 2013 to 6 percent in 2015, according to the state statistics.

“A lot of those students tend to be English-learners who arrived (in Vista schools) later in their life, in the eighth or ninth grade,” Wiblemo said.

Others were unable to complete all the courses required for graduation in four years for a variety of reasons, Wiblemo said. Most will stay in school to receive a diploma next year.

Vista Unified also has seen a slight increase in the number of special education students who are not receiving diplomas, but completed high school within four years, rising from 0.8 percent in 2013 to 1.3 percent in 2015.


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  • Published: 8 years ago on May 19, 2016
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  • Last Modified: May 18, 2016 @ 4:17 pm
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