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Good gains for SMJUHSD back button

The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District showed positive trends in the graduation rate between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years, according to data released by the California Department of Education. At the same time, suspensions have been decreased.

“We are excited about our progress across the district,’’ said Superintendent Dr. Mark Richardson. “Students, staff and the community should take pride in our collective effort.’’


The district’s total graduation rate for 2017-18 was 91.2 percent, compared to the county average of 90.1 percent and the state average of 87.2 percent. Last year’s (2016-17) district average was 89 percent.


It’s important to note that the CDE recently changed the way it made the calculations on the four-year graduation rate. Now, all students who do not graduate in four years are classified as non-graduates and are counted. Before, the CDE classified them as fifth year students and they were not counted in the calculation. The group involves EL students and Special Ed students.


Discipline data from the CDE demonstrated further improvements for the SMJUHSD. The district’s suspension rates for the 2017-18 school year decreased to 3.3 percent, compared to last year’s 5 percent. The state average is 3.4 percent.

The district credits this positive trend to in-school intervention programs, counseling services, targeted behavior and increased staffing to address negative behavior.

It’s important to remember that the CDE data compared high school districts to school districts that have high schools, middle schools and elementary schools, making what would be called an unfair comparison. Everyone knows that high school students are more likely to get suspended than first graders.

If the SMJUHSD suspension rate was just compared to rates from high school districts like Salinas (6.4 percent), Oxnard (5.2 percent) or Kern (8.8 percent), schools officials believe it would be more realistic and show an even greater improvement.

In the county school districts with high schools, SMJUHSD still holds its ground with suspension rates. Carpinteria (4.1), Lompoc (5.1) and SB Unified (3.4).


NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: SMJUHSD programs, activities, practices and employment prohibits discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on actual or perceived race or ethnicity, color, ancestry, nationality, national origin, ethnic group identifications, age, religion, marital, family or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic information or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, immediately contact the District’s Discrimination, Equity and Title IX Compliance Officer Mr. Kevin R. Platt at 2560 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93455, (805) 922-4573 or kplatt@smjuhsd.org. You may request a copy of SMJUHSD’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, Non-Discrimination Policies, Sexual Harassment Policies or click here.