CAPS AND GOWNS: Santa Barbara High School’s graduation ceremony was held Thursday, June 2. | Credit: Jun Starkey

Thousands of high school students have graduated from the Santa Barbara Unified School District this year as students slowly begin to overcome hurdles created by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as learning loss and the exacerbation of the achievement gap.

The district provided a breakdown of graduation rates among students for the past five years, from 2018 to 2022, though the 2022 graduation rate is subject to some changes due to the upcoming summer of learning, which will allow students to make up some lost credits.

From 2019 to 2021, the total graduation rate for the district hovered between 90 and 91 percent, and in 2022, the total jumped to 94 percent. The breakdown of demographics among graduates includes language, socioeconomic background, and race or ethnicity.

Emergent multilingual learners, or students whose first language is not English, had a 78 percent graduation rate in 2022, as compared to 72 percent in 2019, though 2019 saw a much larger population of EML students. In 2019, the district had 217 EML students eligible for graduation, compared to 70 in 2022. 

Credit: Jun Starkey

Among students with varying socioeconomic backgrounds, homeless students jumped to a 90 percent graduation rate in 2022, compared to an 85 percent graduation rate in 2019. Students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged also saw an increase in graduations, going from an 86 percent graduation rate in 2019 to 92 percent in 2022. 

Hispanic/Latino students saw a steady incline in graduation over the past five years, with 93 percent of students graduating in 2022. From 2018 to 2021, the graduation rate remained between 87 and 90 percent. Asian and White students had a 97 percent and 96 percent graduation rate, respectively, in 2022, and Black students had a 100 percent graduation rate this year, compared to a 76 percent rate in 2019.

The district will further break down graduation statistics at the June 14 Santa Barbara Unified School Board meeting.

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