Keys graduation rates below state average

Monroe County schools had a 79 percent graduation rate from its three traditional high schools for the school year 2016-17, but disparities still exist with white students graduating at a higher rate than Hispanic and black students.

The district’s graduation rate is below the state’s average, 82 percent and slightly higher than last year’s 77.9 percent rate.

“We need to do a better job of getting all kids to certain benchmarks along the way that will set them up so they can complete the process,” said Superintendent Mark Porter.

Porter added, “This is not a high school-only issue, it’s a systemic issue.”

Of the Keys 611 students eligible for graduation, 484 walked off with diplomas, according to a report by Dave Murphy, the district’s executive director of assessment and accountability.

School Board member Mindy Conn said the Keys can’t count on ever scoring a 100 percent graduation rate, given the variables of students choosing to get a GED, which counts against the graduation rate.

“What I really want to see is 100 percent positive outcomes,” Conn said.

Coral Shores High School in Tavernier had the highest rate of the three public high schools with 83 percent, while Marathon was close behind with nearly 83 percent and Key West High School trailed behind at 79 percent.

But Monroe County still has a problem with the rate of white students being higher than those of students of color, the report shows.

Overall, 86.5 percent of white students earned diplomas while 68 percent of Hispanics and 73 percent of blacks did the same.

The Upper Keys school had a 68 percent Hispanic graduation rate and a 92 percent white graduation rate. Marathon High had an 89 percent white graduation rate and a 77.8 percent Hispanic graduation rate.

The only high school that had seniors who identified as black was at Key West High, where 85.6 percent of white students graduated compared to 68 percent of Hispanics and 79 percent of blacks.

Last year, the Hispanic graduation rate was nearly 88 percent and the black graduation rate was 69.

The board meets next Feb. 13 in Key West starting at 2 p.m.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen