Superintendent Michelle King Announces Preliminary Graduation Rate of 75 Percent

LOS ANGELES (Aug. 9, 2016) - Superintendent Michelle King today announced a preliminary graduation rate of 75 percent for the Class of 2016 – the highest in L.A. Unified’s history – during her inaugural State of the District address to principals and administrators.

The graduation rate jumped nearly 3 percentage points over last year despite a new requirement that students pass a rigorous college-prep curriculum in order to earn their diploma. The slate of classes known as the “A-G curriculum” qualifies students to attend California’s public universities.

“This exceeds the expectations of those who said our students couldn’t do it,” Ms. King said. “Our students can and will thrive to meet the standards of the 21st century.”

Defining L.A. Unified as a “district on the move,” the superintendent outlined her goals for graduating all students, and giving them the academic knowledge and technological skills they need to gain a degree and enter the workforce.

Superintendent King spoke of her plans to expand innovative educational models, such as magnet and dual-language programs, and to create more themed pathways to ignite students’ passion in education. The district also is working on a plan to allow more students to earn community college credits while they are still in high school.

“Students who complete these demanding programs are positioned for success, whether their post-secondary plans include community college, a four-year university or a career,” she said.

Students will receive more support. A specialized counselor will be assigned this year to high-needs high schools, helping students stay on track to graduate, while college and career coaches support struggling middle schools. Additional resources also will be dedicated to help English-language learners, who make up nearly one-third of L.A. Unified’s enrollment.

“Through efforts like these, we will continue to support the unique needs of every student,” she said.

The 35-minute speech at Garfield High School was the first for the superintendent, who attended L.A. Unified schools and worked more than three decades as a teacher, principal and administrator. She was promoted in January to lead the nation’s second-largest school district.

“I never imagined, when I first walked onto the campus of Century Park Elementary School as a student, that I would one day have the distinct privilege and honor of working shoulder-to-shoulder with so many talented, passionate and selfless educators to lead this great district forward,” she said.

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Contact: Shannon Haber (213) 241-6766