Education

Coast school districts among top in state for graduation rates

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD/FILE 
 Long Beach High seniors prepare for their graduation in 2011. For the 2015-16 school year, the Long Beach School District ranked in the top 10 in the state in three categories.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD/FILE Long Beach High seniors prepare for their graduation in 2011. For the 2015-16 school year, the Long Beach School District ranked in the top 10 in the state in three categories. SUN HERALD

Several Coast school districts were among the top 10 in the state for highest graduation rates and lowest dropout rates for the 2015-16 school year.

The state Department of Education on Thursday afternoon released school districts' graduation and dropout rates.

Long Beach School District ranked in the top 10 in three categories. It had the highest graduation rate in the state for students with disabilities, sixth-highest graduation rate and 10th-lowest dropout rate.

Bay-Waveland School District had the 10th-highest graduation rate. Pass Christian ranked eighth and Gulfport ranked ninth for lowest dropout rates.

Statewide, graduation rates improved from 78.4 percent in the 2014-15 school year to 80.8 this year, an all-time high.

If Mississippi maintains that rate of growth, it could surpass the national rate by next year, according to J.P. Beaudoin, the Education Department's director of research and development. The national rate was 82 percent in 2013-14.

The graduation rate for students with disabilities also increased significantly, from 27.5 to 33.6 percent the previous year.

The dropout rate dipped for the second consecutive year, from 12.8 to 11.8 percent.

Carey Wright, state superintendent of education, said parents, teachers and administrators should be proud of the state's gains.

"The credit is due to the hard work of our teachers and principals who continue to set high expectations for children, and our children continue to meet and exceed those expectations," she said. "I'm particularly pleased to see the progress of our students with disabilities. We are not where we should be as a state, but we are increasing the opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in general education classes. "

John Kelly, chairman of the Mississippi State Board of Education, said the Board's five-year strategic plan focuses on graduation and 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," he said. "This supports the Board's strategic-plan goal of all students graduating high school ready for college and career."

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