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CUSD's Latino graduation rates improve
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Approximately 134 school districts with enrollments of at least 10,000 and a majority-Latino student population were included in the Editorial Projects In Education Research Center's national study for 2009 graduation rates.

Analysis conducted by the center found that 38 of the school systems posted Latino graduation rates higher than would be expected based on a detailed profile of 10 key characteristics, including district size, poverty rate, and levels of racial and socioeconomic segregation.

Ceres Unified School District (85 percent) ranked second behind Lompoc Unified (89 percent).

Just 68 percent of CUSD's Latino high school students were expected to graduate.

Merced Union (82 percent) ranked third.

"It's a wonderful accomplishment," CUSD Supt. Scott Siegel said. "We're exceeding expectations. We need to acknowledge the efforts of all of our staff, students and parents."

"I think it's awesome," said School Board trustee Teresa Guerrero.

Siegel passed on the news at the Sept. 25 Ceres School Board meeting.

He also provided trustees with an overview of district, county and state graduation and dropout rate comparisons for the 2010-11 and 2009-10 school years. Those figures were released by the California Department of Education during the summertime.

"We expect all of our students to succeed," said Siegel.

Ceres Unified's overall graduation rate rose from 83.5 to 84.5 percent between 2009 and 2011.

Graduation rates among Latino students increased from 82.5 to 84.3 percent.

The graduation rate for African Americans jumped nearly 2 percentage points from 80.8 to 82.6.

There was a slight drop for White students from 84.9 to 84.5

The county and state had overall graduation rates of 75.5 and 76.3 percent, respectively, during the 2010-11 school year.

Dropout rates for CUSD's white, Latino and African-American students decreased from 11.4 to 6.4, 12.6 to 10.7 and 15.4 to 4.3 percent, respectively, between 2009 and 2011.

Ceres Unified also had a lower overall dropout rate (8.9 percent) for the 2010-11 school year when compared to both the county (17.1) and state (14.4).

"We're doing better than a lot of people around us," reported Siegel. "But we know we have more work to do. It's very important for our society that our graduation rates are as high as possible. It (education) levels the economic playing field."