Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ (M-DCPS) graduation rate improved by nearly four percentage points to 72.1 percent for the 2009-2010 academic year. This is the highest graduation rate M-DCPS has achieved since the Florida Department of Education began tracking graduation statistics with modern methods in the late 1990’s. The District’s rate of improvement for the year exceeded the statewide rate.
“This is definitely a strong step in the right direction,” said Superintendent of Schools Alberto M. Carvalho. “The results are a combination of expert teaching and strong school leadership. This positive development complements the increased student achievement that was demonstrated earlier this year through higher FCAT scores and National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores, which showed our students are surpassing their counterparts in all other major urban areas. This strong increase in graduation rates is a significant achievement that deserves community celebration.”
The improvement in the district’s graduation rate was made possible by a detailed plan to address new high school accountability standards. Online credit recovery courses were made available to students to help ensure students could make up needed coursework. Additional periods in the school day provided students with course acceleration and credit recovery opportunities. High school counselors were given professional development in how to help students recover needed credits. The district also focused more attention on the importance of graduation early on, beginning with middle school, to provide those students with smoother transitions to high school academics. Additionally, a comprehensive summer school program offered students opportunities to make up coursework.