The percentage of students graduating from Dallas ISD schools in four years increased for the Class of 2011, showing an increase for the fourth consecutive year and a jump of nearly 15 percentage points since 2007 using comparable data, according to preliminary figures released by the Texas Education Agency.
The percentage of Dallas students dropping out of school also fell in every ethnicity for the fourth consecutive year.
“These figures show that Dallas ISD has made very good strides during the last four years,” said incoming superintendent Mike Miles, who took office today as Superintendent of Schools. “My goal is for all staff, parents and the community to continue to build on this success by getting more students to graduate and better prepare them for college and the workforce.”
Using comparable data, the percentage of Dallas ISD students who graduated in four years in the Class of 2011 is 77.3 percent, up from 62.5 percent from the Class of 2007 when uniform federal criteria was first initiated. Dallas ISD’s completion rate for the Class of 2011, which includes students who graduate four years later as well as those who are enrolled for a fifth year, is 87.7 percent, up from 73.3 percent for the Class of 2007.
The percentage for both the four-year graduation rate and completion rate for the Class of 2011 are actually higher (80.3 for graduation rate and 88.2 for completion rate) according to new criteria that will be used by the state for accountability purposes. The other figures reflect a more apples-to-apples comparison.
Using comparable data, the percentage of students dropping out of Dallas ISD schools dropped to 11.8 percent, a decrease by more than half when the percentage was 26 percent five years earlier. The percentage of students dropping out has declined among every student ethnic group.
The percentage of African American students who dropped out fell from 27.2 percent in the Class of 2007 to 14.3 percent in the Class of 2011. The percentage of Hispanic students who dropped out fell from 26.1 percent in the Class of 2007 compared to 10.8 percent in the Class of 2011.
“More high school graduates and fewer dropouts means better opportunities for more students to be successful later in life,” said Miles. “This is very good news for Dallas and, through our Destination 2020 plan, we are positioning the district and its students to be even more successful in the future.”
The boost in the four-year graduation and completion rates in Dallas ISD has been caused by a number of factors, including more specialized programs to interest students. One program in particular has been the addition of early college high schools that allow students to earn both high school and college credit simultaneously.
Trini Garza Early College High School at Mountain View College, opened in 2006, boasts a 4-year graduation rate of 100 percent. All students at the school are enrolled in Pre-AP, AP or dual credit classes. Garza most recently received the National Excellence in Urban Education award from the Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST). The award recognizes the most improved high schools in America. Garza was one of three schools across the country to receive the honor this year.
“The key to our success is that we have created a culture of learning in a college-embedded environment,” said principal Janice Lombardi. “Eighty-four percent of our students come from homes where they will be the first in their family to attend college. At Trini Garza Early College, we live our motto every day: College Ready, Career Ready, and Life Ready.”
In 2008, Dallas ISD opened another early college, the Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy, in partnership with Cedar Valley College and the University of North Texas at Dallas. This fall, W.W. Samuell High School will open an early college in partnership with Eastfield Community College.