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A closer look at Contra Costa dropout rates

By Theresa Harrington
Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 at 1:31 pm in California, Contra Costa County, Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington.

By Theresa Harrington

According to high school graduation and dropout rate reports issued by the state Tuesday, nearly 16 percent of Contra Costa County students dropped out of school in 2008-09, compared to almost 22 percent statewide.

Here’s a rundown of the increases and decreases in county districts from 2007-08 to 2008-09. Data from 2007-08 is listed first, followed by 2008-09, then a + or -, indicating if the rate went up or down.

Four-year estimated drop out rates for Contra Costa County school districts:

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY: 16.0%; 15.9% (-)
Acalanes Union High: 3.5%, 3.3% (-)
Antioch: 25.9%, 25.7% (-)
John Swett: 25.8%, 16% (-)
Liberty: 6.5%, 5.4% (-)
Martinez: 6%, 7.6% (+)
Mt. Diablo: 23%, 22.2% (-)
Pittsburg: 26.4%, 30.7% (+)
San Ramon Valley: 3%, 3.7% (+)
West Contra Costa: 21.3%, 22.2% (+)

For most of the districts, the rates didn’t change much. Notable exceptions are John Swett and Pittsburg.

John Swett reduced its dropout rate by nearly 10 percentage points, while Pittsburg’s grew by more than 4 percentage points, making it the district with the highest percentage of dropouts in the county.

You can find school results here:

Here’s a rundown of the 2007-08 to 2008-09 dropout rates for the Mt. Diablo district’s six comprehensive high schools:

Clayton Valley High: 12.6%, 6.1% (-)
College Park High: 13.5%, 10.8% (-)
Concord High: 14.3%, 10.8% (-)
Mt. Diablo High: 35.9%, 27.7% (-)
Northgate High: 9.5%, 3.3% (-)
Ygnacio Valley High: 26.1%, 31.4% (+)

District: 23%, 22.2% (-); (includes continuation high schools)
County: 16%, 15.9% (-)
State: 18.9%, 21.7% (+)

As you can see, all schools except Ygnacio Valley reduced their dropout rates fairly substantially, but the district’s overall dropout rate is higher than both the county and state averages. Northgate has the fewest droputs, with just over 3 percent.

Mt. Diablo High had the highest dropout rate in 2007-08, but fell below Ygnacio Valley in 2008-09. Mt. Diablo slashed its dropout┬árate by nearly 9 percentage points, while Ygnacio Valley’s climbed by 5 percentage points, making it the comprehensive high school with the highest percentage of dropouts in the district.

What do you think districts should do to prevent dropouts and help students graduate?

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