Reporter

Super schools: Graduation rates increase in Osceola County, across state

The Osceola High School class of 2018 celebrate graduating at the student ceremony last year.

The School District of Osceola County announced last week that the 2017-18 high school graduation rate increased to 89.3 percent, a 3 percent bump over last year.  

The district’s graduation rate remains above the state average of 86.1 percent. Osceola County now ranks 14th out of 67 counties, and third in the Central Florida region.  

Among Central Florida counties, students in Seminole high schools posted the highest graduation rate, at 91.7 percent.

In addition, graduation rates for Hispanic, Black, English Language Learners and Exceptional Education students increased at Osceola schools as well. Similar gains were reflected statewide.

“Starting with our littlest learners all the way up to our seniors who will be proudly wearing a cap and gown, every child in our public schools deserves to be challenged in engaging, rigorous, and relevant academics to ensure that they are college and career-ready,” said Superintendent Debra Pace.  

This past spring and summer, 180,416 high school seniors earned diplomas from schools across Florida. Among those who did not graduate in a traditional setting, 7,426 students dropped out and 21,723 either remained in school longer, earned certificates of completion or a GED, moved to adult-education programs or to a private school, according to the Florida Department of Education.

The state graduation rate this year was 3.8 percentage points higher than in 2017 statewide, according to the data.

Florida’s high school graduation rate has been increasing for more than a decade. Its lowest rate in the last 14 years was in 2006, when it was 58.8 percent, according to state data.

The Florida graduation rate is based off the number of students who graduated with a standard diploma within four years after enrolling in their first full-time ninth grade year in Florida. Adjustments to the cohort rate are made over time to reflect new transfer students, those who have left the state and other factors.

Other highlights from the statewide report include:

 Florida’s graduation rate among Black/African American students increased by 16.2 percentage points over the last five years.

 The graduation rate gap between white and African American students narrowed by 3.3 percentage points compared to 2016-17.  The gap in 2016-17 was 11.4 percentage points, and the gap in 2017-18 is 8.1 percentage points.

 The statewide graduation rate among Hispanic students increased by 10.1 percentage points over the last five years, rising from 75 percent in 2013-14 to 85.1 percent in 2017-18.

 The statewide graduation rate among students with disabilities increased by 21.9 percentage points.

 The statewide graduation rate among economically disadvantaged students increased by 14.3 percentage points.