CITYWIDE — More than 87 percent of Santa Monica kindergarteners are proficient in literacy, up from 76 percent in 2012, according to the 2014 Youth Wellbeing Report Card.

Literacy is worse among low-income and minority kindergarteners, according to the study, and that gap widens by third grade as reading scores drop across the board.

In third grade, only 67.7 percent of Santa Monica students are proficient in the language arts.

City Hall built the report card with data from Santa Monica’s youth to evaluate school achievement, physical health, social skill, and mental health. The first report card was released last year.

More than 92 percent of Asian and white Santa Monica kindergarteners are proficient at reading compared to 77 percent of Latino kindergarteners and 70 percent of black kindergarteners.

By third grade nearly 80 percent of white and 87 percent of Asian students are proficient in language arts but proficiency drops to 53 percent for black third graders and 43 percent for Latino third graders.

Math scores are up among eighth graders as is the graduation rate at Santa Monica High School, and the number of kids who report feeling safe at school.

Still, a quarter of middle-schoolers report feeling unsafe at school and four in 10 seventh and ninth graders say they’ve been harassed at school.

Girls are more emotionally ready for kindergarten than boys. Overall, 77 percent of incoming-kindergarteners are emotionally ready for school and 81 percent are socially ready. Social, physical, and emotional readiness for kindergarten dropped slightly since last year. About a quarter of incoming Santa Monica kindergarteners are not physically on track. Boys and children from the Pico neighborhood are more likely to be physically vulnerable, the report said.

The rate of child abuse and teen pregnancy is up slightly in the city by the sea, as is the number of family households on food stamps.

Fewer kids were born at a low birth-weight and the child immunization rate is closing in on 100 percent.

Fewer students are reporting alcohol and substance abuse (21 percent and 26 percent respectively) but slightly more students say they’ve felt hopelessness or extreme sadness recently (26.3 percent). A third of high school juniors report binge drinking in the past month and 17 percent of high school students report having suicidal thoughts.

Only 17.6 percent of Santa Monica and Olympic High students who enroll at Santa Monica College place in college-level English and math. Only 65 percent of the SMC courses taken by those students are successfully completed with a C or higher, down from the last report card. SMC grade point averages among graduates from Santa Monica high schools fell from 2.33 to 2.32 between 2012 and 2014.

 

dave@smdp.com

 

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