The graduation rate for the Class of 2020 in Palm Beach County School District-operated schools climbed to 94.4 percent, according to the Florida Department of Education. This rate represents a sharp increase from the 91.6 percent graduation rate in 2019.
The district’s graduation rate, which was released Jan. 7, continues to outpace the state’s average of 90 percent. Twenty-two of the district’s high schools have a graduation rate of 90 percent or higher.
Lake Worth High School earned a 12.3 percent increase to 91.1 percent, Palm Beach Gardens High School achieved a 6.3 percent gain to 96.7 percent and Palm Beach Lakes High School showed a 4.7 percent increase to 87.8 percent. The Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts had a 100 percent graduation rate. Village Academy had the largest single-year increase of 18.7 percent to achieve a 100 percent graduation rate.
The district also continues closing the achievement gap. The number of Black student graduates jumped by 5 percent, Hispanic students by 2.7 percent and White students by 1.3 percent.
Also notable is the 23.5 percent increase in the graduation rate among English language learners (ELLs) and students with disabilities (SWD), which increased by 16.3 percent.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our students, teachers and school administrators,” Superintendent Donald Fennoy said. “Our challenge now, in this time of COVID-19, is maintaining this level of success. As a district, we will continue to work in the best interest of our students and make up for any lost ground to elevate our future graduating classes.”
The 94.4 percent district graduation rate does not include charter schools operated in Palm Beach County. The graduation rate for all schools, inclusive of charter schools, increased to 90.2 percent, from 87.1 percent last year.
Across the state, the overall 2020 graduation rate of 90 percent showed a 9.3 percent increase over the last five years, according to the Florida Department of Education.
The rate includes standard diplomas but excludes special diplomas and general education diplomas (GEDs). When comparing the 2019-20 graduation rate to prior years, it is important to note that pursuant to Florida Department of Education Emergency Order No. 2020-EO-1, students in the graduating class were exempt from statewide, standardized assessment requirements.
The school district’s goal is to hold in-person graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2021 if it is safe to do so. In 2020, nearly 160,000 people in 30 countries watched the virtual graduations of the Class of 2020.