Washington County graduation rates on the rise

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - According to the Florida Department of Education, the Washington County School District is seeing more and more students graduate.

The district's graduation rate is up 1.5 percent, bringing the average rate to 77.8 percent.

"I think it's a reflection of the hard work the schools are doing," Washington County Superintendent of Schools Joseph Taylor said. "The purpose, I believe, of the school district is to issue a diploma. That's what we're here for, so when you see positive trends like that, I believe that's what we need to be shooting for."

Chipley High School had a graduation rate of 88.2 percent. Vernon High School had a graduation rate of 88.3 percent.

Reports show Vernon's rate is up nearly seven percent over the past five years.

"As that graduation rate goes up, we know that is opportunity for our kids," Vernon High School Principal Brian Riviere said. "Some of them, unfortunately, things happen and they don't complete. You know, that's when you wish you could have that crystal ball and show that student that without that high school diploma, it's going to rob them of opportunity."

Riviere credits part of the increase to more one-on-one time, as well as college and career prep classes.

"We service about 60 students. That is one of the cornerstones of the class is to help them become self-reliant and watch over their own schooling careers," Riviere said.

Six years ago, Vernon High School was an 'A' school with a 100 percent graduation rate--something Riviere said they're striving to achieve again.

Taylor said his goal is to raise the alternative school's graduation rate, which is currently less than 20 percent.