Reforming a culture that accepts failure is seldom easy. But at Santa Fe Public Schools, we now can point to measurable success in keeping students in high school.
Here’s what just happened. In the school year 2012-13, the dropout rate for Santa Fe’s schools decreased from 6 percent to 2.8 percent, according to district figures. That’s the lowest percentage in the past decade. The dropout rate — not to be confused with graduation rate, which counts students who graduate in four years with a regular diploma — measures the percentage of students in grades 7-12 who leave school each year. It doesn’t include students who transfer to a private school or other district. (Statewide, the dropout rate for 2012-13 was 4.7 percent; this year, at least, Santa Fe did better than the state average.)