Graduation rates at Tacoma public high schools climbed to 85 percent in 2016, the sixth-straight year of gains, Tacoma School District Superintendent Carla Santorno announced at a community event Friday.
“It was quite a milestone day,” said Eric Wilson, president and CEO of Graduate Tacoma, a foundation formed 10 years ago to try to boost graduation rates in the city’s high schools.
Graduate Tacoma, a diverse array of business people, government officials, clergy and education experts, hopes to get that rate to 87 percent by 2020.
Santorno made the announcement at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center, where nearly 700 people gathered for an update on Graduate Tacoma programs.
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The news came a week after President Obama announced that the nationwide graduation rate hit 83 percent for the 2015 school year. Tacoma schools also hit 83 percent that year.
Graduate Tacoma announced Friday that between 2012 and 2015, graduation rates among poor students and students of color also have been increasing, with rates among African-American students and Hispanic students rising by 22 percent, Pacific Islander students 28 percent, Native American students 25 percent, white students 10 percent and Asian students 11 percent.
The overall graduation rate in Tacoma public schools in 2010 was about 55 percent.