More than 91 percent of high school seniors at Soquel High School graduated last spring, a rate that puts the schools above state averages for graduation rates, according to data released this week by the state Department of Education.
Graduation rates locally have dropped in recent years. In 2010, the rate was 96 percent, compared to 91.6 in 2012.
While Soquel is doing fine compared to the rest of the state, it is right in the middle of the pack in terms of diploma rate in Santa Cruz County.
The best graduation rate last year among traditional high schools in Santa Cruz County was San Lorenzo Valley High School in Felton, which saw a huge improvement when almost every senior qualified to wear a cap and gown. The graduation rate was 99.3 percent there in the 2011-12 school year.
Overall, California's graduation rates rose while dropout rates declined.
The state superintendent's office reported 78.5 percent of students who started high school in 2008-2009 graduated last year. That was up 1.5 percentage points from the year before.
Among African-American students, 65.7 percent graduated with their class in 2012, up 2.9 points from the year before.
Among Hispanic students, 73.2 percent graduated in 2012, up 1.8 points from the year before.
There was a corresponding drop in the state's dropout rate.
The superintendent's office reported 13.5 percent of students who began high school in 2008-2009 dropped out. That was down 1.5 percent from the year before.
The dropout rate among African-American students dropped 3.1 points to 22.2 percent. Among Hispanic students, the dropout rate fell 2.1 points to 16.2 percent.
Another 8.3 percent of students were labeled as neither dropouts or graduate. They include special education students, students who passed the GED exam and those who are still in school.
State Superintendent Tom Torlakson said while the trend is positive, California schools still need to do more. He said he'd like to see the graduation rate top 80 percent in the near future and then reach 90 percent by 2020.
He commended local school officials for improving education despite budget cuts the past few years and the fact California is 49th in the nation in education funding.
"As I travel up and down the state, I see great things happening in California schools every day," said Torlakson.