District graduation rate dips slightly

From Press & Staff Reports

For the third consecutive year, Mississippi high school graduation rates inched closer to the national average.

The Mississippi Department of Education released the graduation rates for the last school year on Jan. 19, a four-year graduation rate of 82.3 percent.

In the Webster County School District, the graduation rate dipped slightly from 84.2 percent to 83.1 percent and the dropout rate went up from 8.6 percent to 10.4 percent. However, the graduation rate for students with disabilities improved from 22.8 percent to 35 percent

The district’s total enrollment this year is 1,818 with 112 listed as seniors.

The U.S. high school graduation rate is 83.2 percent. Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education, said parents, teachers and administrators should be proud of the state’s gains. School districts have worked to open multiple ways for students to earn a diploma. The graduation rate for students with disabilities also increased, to 34.7 percent from 33.6 percent the previous school year.

“I congratulate the school districts who continue to set high expectations for students, and I’m pleased that students are encouraged to pursue their dreams of either college or direct entry into the workforce. They realize the key to future success is a diploma,” Wright said.

The dropout rate dipped for the third consecutive year to 10.8 percent from 11.8 percent as school districts worked to encourage students to stay in school.

Rosemary Aultman, chairman of the state Board of Education, said increased graduation rates are an important part of the board’s five-year strategic plan. The board’s goals focus on college and career preparedness.

“The MDE has strategically focused its efforts on professional development around higher standards of learning and literacy to build the capacity of our teachers. The board has also opened multiple pathways for students to earn a diploma. All of these efforts have helped more students receive a diploma,” she said.