More than 80 percent of the students in Miami-Dade public schools graduated this year, an all-time high for the nation’s fourth-largest school district.
On Friday, the school district announced that the graduation rate for the 2015-2016 school year was 80.4 percent, up from 58.7 percent in 2007. Graduation rates have been rising steadily since Superintendent Alberto Carvalho took the helm in 2008, but this is the first year they have surpassed the 80 percent mark.
“You cannot land a good job at this point in today’s economy without a strong education, a high school diploma, plus at least two years of technical training or college education,” Carvalho said. “This bodes very well for the future of our community, for the future of our students.”
Carvalho also celebrated the percentage of minority students who graduated in Miami-Dade, which was higher than the state average. Miami-Dade saw 73.8 percent of its African-American students graduate this year, compared to 72.3 percent at the state level, and over 81 percent of its Hispanic students, compared to 79.5 percent statewide.
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Some high schools saw particularly dramatic increases in graduation rates. Westland Hialeah Senior High School saw an 8 percent increase compared to the previous year, even though many of its students are still learning English when they arrive at the school.
Principal Giovanna Blanco said that because many of her students’ parents are immigrants unfamiliar with the U.S. education system, the school has focused on educating parents about graduation requirements and how they can get involved in their child’s education.
“Every child comes to us with some kind of journey, some kind of history, and it’s our job to make sure we look at them individually to make sure we’re maximizing their potential,” she said.
Twelve schools, including iPrep Academy, where Carvalho serves as principal, and Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial High School, saw all of their students get a diploma.