BY OJASWI ADHIKARI, NHS INTERN
THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz
The Natomas Unified School District cut dropout rates by nearly 50 percent and boosted graduation rates, according to data from the California Department of Education.
“We started and finished the year strong,” superintendent Chris Evans said during a recent school board meeting.
State data indicates the district graduated 869 students in the 2012-13 school year.
Natomas High School increased performance in three areas. According to the state data, the south Natomas campus cut its dropout rate from 60 percent to 5.7 percent, boosted its graduation rate to 89.4 percent and also increased the percentage of students who completed a-g requirements to 34.4 percent.
Inderkum High School also finished the academic year with lower dropout rates and more students who graduated.
“Teachers are becoming better at explaining what they teach and also improving their connections with students, making for a more comfortable educational environment for the students,” said Edwin Rivas, 17, a Natomas High junior.
California Department of Education numbers also show enrollment in the Natomas Unified School District increased as well as college readiness among those students who identify as being Hispanic and African American. College readiness is measured through students completion of a-g courses required by all University of California schools.
State data also shows efforts by the Natomas Unified School District to tackle disparity among its student groups have been successful. In 2012-13, it shows, a lower percentage of Hispanic and African American students dropped out of school and a higher number graduated with high school diplomas.
About 336 Hispanic and African American students in all graduated from the Natomas Unified School District in 2012-13.
“An increased focus on dedicating resources such as APEX credit recovery has helped students make up classes and graduate on time as well,” said Aidan Freeman Butalla, 17, a Natomas High senior. APEX classes are those offered online which are designed to help students gain credits to graduate on time.
Supintendent Evans also pointed to a rise in Academic Performance Index scores at both high schools for 2012-13. API is a number determined by the California Department of Education that and is based on a school’s standardized test scores, attendance and graduation rates.
“…I want to thank (teachers) or all you’ve done…its your hard work and dedication that we’ve gotten this achievement…in the upcoming year, we want to increase our support to staff and students,” said Evans.