Sonoma County Office of Education

Sonoma County sees increase in graduation rate

05/17/2016 - Graduation Pic

The rate of students graduating from high school in Sonoma County has risen by nearly 11 percent in the last six years, County Superintendent Steve Herrington announced.

Sonoma County’s graduation rate in 2014-15 was 82.9 percent compared with 74.7 percent in 2009-10, according to California Department of Education data released today. The rate is above the state average of 82.3 — a record high for the state. The graduation rate describes the percent of students in a “cohort,” or group of students starting high school together, who graduate four years later.

“I am thrilled to see that our commitment to increasing the high school graduation rate and college-going rate for local students has paid off,” Herrington said. “We are definitely moving in the right direction.”

A particularly dramatic increase took place among students identifying as Hispanic or Latino. In 2009-10, only 65.9 percent of students in this demographic graduated with their class. By 2014-15, that number had risen by 19 percent, to a rate of 78.6. “While we still have a lot of work to do to close the achievement gap, this is encouraging progress,” Herrington said.

“We applaud the excellent efforts of our local teachers and administrators who work to ensure student success every day,” he said. He also gave credit to the Sonoma County Board of Education and superintendent’s office, as well as the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, for investing in the program 10,000 Degrees in recent years. 10,000 Degrees is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students from low-income households graduate high school and obtain a college education.

At the same time that graduation rates have increased, fewer Sonoma County students have dropped out of school. The dropout rate decreased from 15.5 percent in 2009-10 to 10.3 percent in 2014-15.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said of statewide results, “This is encouraging news any way you look at it, especially since the increase is occurring as we are introducing much more rigorous academic standards. Statewide, our students are benefiting from the additional revenues flowing into our schools. We are bringing back relevant and engaging classes in science, civics, arts, and Career Technical Education that were slashed during the Great Recession.”

This is the sixth time this cohort information was calculated, meaning data may only be compared accurately over the six-year period from 2009–10 to 2014–15. Prior to 2009–10, graduation and dropout rates used different calculation systems.

To view and download state, county, district, and school graduation and dropout rates, visit the California Department of Education's DataQuest ( Caution is urged when comparing graduation or dropout rates across individual schools and districts. For example, some county office schools, alternative schools, or dropout recovery high schools serve only those students who are already at the greatest risk of dropping out, compared with the broader population at traditional high schools.