New 2018-19 California Department of Education School Dashboard shows 89% graduation rate for San Francisco’s public schools

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New 2018-19 California Department of Education School Dashboard shows 89% graduation rate for San Francisco’s public schools

Press Release

San Francisco (December 12, 2019) - The San Francisco Unified School District’s (SFUSD) graduation rate rose to 89% for the 2018-19 school year, according to new data released today by the California Department of Education (CDE) School Dashboard. SFUSD also continued to show improvement trends for college and career readiness. 

The Dashboard, first released in 2017 as a new accountability model for public and charter schools, reports on six state and five local indicators to give a rounded view of school and district performance. It is available for public review online at

For the first time this year, the new Dashboard accountability model calculates graduation rates by including fifth-year graduates from the previous cohort. For instance, this includes newcomer students who join a class in 10th grade but continue for an additional year of high school. This model provides a more representative picture of practices within SFUSD that are supporting students to achieve their full potential.

Graduation Rates by Subgroup

 For SFUSD’s African American students the graduation rate reached 89.5%, a rate higher than the district average of 89% and an increase of 8.2 percentage points from the previous year.  SFUSD has prioritized removing barriers to African American student achievement, including investing in programs and strategies to further address historic inequities for African American students. 

“As a district we are committed to the priority of ensuring the success of our African American students. We are encouraged to see that the dedicated efforts of our teachers, staff, families, and community groups have created better conditions for African American students to thrive in the 21st century,” said Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews. “We are motivated to continue improving upon these graduation rates and make progress on other important indicators of how well we are preparing our students.”

In 2018-19, the graduation rate for foster youth also increased to 80.9% and increased for Homeless students to 89.1%. Latinx students had an increase in graduation rate to 79.9% and Filipino students reached 91.7%. Additionally, the graduation rate for English language learner students increased to 75.6%.

“While we know there is still work to do in ensuring the success of all students, we are pleased to see the progress that has been made by creating sustainable solutions that improve outcomes for our most underserved students,” said SF Board President Stevon Cook. "This increase in graduation rates is proof that when we come together and focus on one of our greatest needs, we can change the lives of our students." 

District leaders say increases in graduation rates can be attributed to numerous system improvements made over the past decade. For instance, SFUSD has developed and implemented systems to better identify and track the progress of students towards graduation.  This includes the development of on-track off-track measures, implementation of a portfolio of credit-earning options for students, and professional development for counselors to better identify supports for students. SFUSD schools have also expanded programs that give students real-world career learning experiences, which research shows increases student engagement. 

“When the SFUSD Board of Education voted to make our graduation requirements more rigorous than many of our peer school districts in the state, we were committed to ensuring that underserved populations in SFUSD received the support they needed to achieve a high school diploma and complete the UC enrollment requirements,” said SFUSD Assistant Superintendent of High Schools Bill W. Sanderson. “We have remained steadfast in our commitment as a district and as a community, and we will continue to work until all students not only graduate but also possess the 21st-century readiness skills and dispositions outlined in the SFUSD Graduate Profile.” 

In addition to systemic changes in all high schools, SFUSD implemented several strategies over the past five years aimed at engaging and supporting African American students and their families.

For instance, through its African American Achievement & Leadership Initiative (AAALI) SFUSD designated African American Success Liaisons at nine high schools to create a stronger level of communication and alignment. Success Liaisons coordinate services for African American students such as workshops, student-teacher-parent check-ins, counselor meetings, and field trips and are responsible for monitoring services students receive.

Increase in College & Career Readiness

The California School Dashboard also presents data on College/Career Indicator (CCI), which measures how well students are prepared for likely success after graduation. For the entire district, CCI increased by 6.9 percentage points to 62.3% in 2018-19. 

This increase was particularly notable for John O’Connell High School (JOCHS), where in the past year Latinx students increased in CCI by 21.9% and Socioeconomically Disadvantaged students increased by 18.8 percentage points. Over the past 3 years at JOCHS, the percentage of students categorized as “prepared” in CCI has risen from 36.4% to 52.1%

The CDE also released other data in the dashboard this week. For more information, visit:



Page updated on 12/12/19