Grad rates up, dropouts down

GREENFIELD — When Superintendent Daniel Moirao first arrived as state administrator of the South Monterey County Joint Union High School District, the student graduation rates were around 70 percent. As of last year, they rose to 90 percent.

“Our dropout rates have declined significantly and we’re still continuing to work on that,” Moirao said. “We are not completely satisfied where we are with the graduation rates, so we’re continuing to push.”

The district is supporting students who are behind on credits or who don’t find value in a high school diploma by creating new programs. According to Moirao, the school is also reclassifying English language learners and having students who are proficient in multiple languages.

“We now have 92 students this year that we reclassified,” he said.

Those reclassified students who are graduating on June 2 will be wearing specific robes because they have been designated as bilingual learners. Moirao said the district is bypassing the state average for the number of students who are succeeding in the English and language arts area.

“Our math is not where we want it to be,” Moirao said. “We are working diligently to get our students moving forward, and math is an area where this is a real need.”

The Future Farmers of America Program also is excelling, according to Moirao. It started with a part-time teacher, but now has three full-time teachers.

Additionally, the Greenfield High School campus is offering a digital technology program and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program.

On the financial front, the district has made a turnaround from where it was during the state takeover and is fiscally solvent with a very healthy reserve, Moirao said.

“We have changed our bond rating from a level C to a level A,” he said. “At one time we had over 40 audit findings, this last audit we had five.”

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