Florida high school graduation rate at 13-year high

Duval County graduation rate rises more than 10% over past 4 years

The Florida Department of Education announced Friday that graduation rates for the 2015-2016 school year were up across the state.

Duval County Public Schools now sees a graduation rate of 78.8 percent, up from 76.6 percent in the previous school year and 11 percent over the 2011-2012 school year.

Clay County saw an all-time high graduation rate of 84.7 percent last year. In St. Johns County, the rate was 91.2 percent. Nassau County came in with a rate just higher at 91.4 percent. Putnam County's rate increased 63.6 percent -- a nearly 9 percentage increase in one year.

  • Statewide, the graduation rate in 2015-2016 was 80.7 percent, up from 77.9 percent the year before, something Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart called "cause for celebration."
  • The statewide graduation rate among all students increased by 6.2 percentage points over the last five years, rising from 74.5 percent in 2011-12 to 80.7 percent in 2015-16.
  • The statewide graduation rate among African American students increased by 8.6 percentage points over the last five years, rising from 63.7 percent in 2011-12 to 72.3 percent in 2015-16.
  • The statewide graduation rate among Hispanic students increased by 6.5 percentage points over the last five years, rising from 73.0 percent in 2011-12 to 79.5 percent in 2015-16.
  • The statewide graduation rate among students with disabilities increased by 13.8 percentage points, rising from 47.8 percent in 2011-12 to 61.6 percent in 2015-16.
  • The statewide graduation rate among economically disadvantaged students increased by 9.3 percentage points, rising from 65.1 percent in 2011-12 to 74.4 percent in 2015-16.

Surrounded by Duval County School Board members, Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti, said the district's graduation rate is the highest in its history.

“The work occurring in our high schools around rising graduation rates best represents our commitment to students," Vitti said. "What is particularly a point of pride is that nearly all of our schools continue to show improvement and that our work with African-American students is leading the state. Not only are more students graduating each year, but more are college ready.”

Nineteen of Jacksonville's 21 high schools achieved a graduation rate of over 80 percent, and Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts and Stanton High School both had a 100 percent graduation rate.

Trey Csar, president of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, called this "significant progress."

"The graduation rate is an important and enduring measurement that everyone in the community should be paying attention to," Csar said.

Putnam County saw among the largest increases in the state.

"We are pleased that the implementation of our five-year graduation initiative, as well as the efforts of our schools, have contributed to such a significant increase in the number of our students that graduated on time,” said Tonya Whitehurst, Putnam County's director of secondary education.

Clay County ranked 17th out of 67 Florida school districts for graduation rate.

  • Oakleaf High School climbed from 92.6 percent to 93.6 percent
  • Clay High School climbed from 89.6 percent to 91 percent
  • Keystone Heights Senior High climbed from 73.8 percent to 82.3 percent
  • Fleming Island High School leads Clay County with a 96.7 percent graduation rate

“I am inspired by these results and I am confident that they form a strong foundation for the work ahead of us. As superintendent, I look forward to leading and working alongside all of our professional educators, the Clay County Public Schools team, and our School Board to further the mission and goals of our district. Through my plan to Elevate Clay, we will work together to make our school system the very best it can be,“ said Addison Davis, superintendent of schools.

The district’s graduation rate increased by one percent over the previous year.