Aberdeen to the top: Students set graduation rate for district

ABERDEEN, Miss. (WCBI) – Aberdeen High School Seniors are setting records for the school district and outpacing others in the county and across the state.

According to the Mississippi Department of Education, Aberdeen’s class of 2023 had Monroe County’s highest graduation rate of 95.2%.

There’s an old saying, “It’s not how you start but how you finish that counts.”

12 years ago the state took over the operation of the Aberdeen School District.

The Seniors of 2023 started their school careers under the cloud of conservatorship but when they crossed the stage in May, they were record-breakers.

“We were elated to receive the graduation rate of 95.2% which is the highest graduation rate in the Aberdeen school district history,” said Aberdeen Superintendent Dr. Andrea Pastchal-Smith.

On top of seniors setting records for graduation rates, students have also improved the district’s accountability rating.

“When I stepped into the role of Superintendent of the Aberdeen school district was number one to increase the student achievement level here accountability-wise. We were able to improve the accountability rating in one year and we are currently rated as a B-rated school district,” said Pastchal-Smith.

Smith said each school has its accountability goals to take Aberdeen to the top.

“Once we have received that accountability rating the teachers get a great incentive for receiving that goal and we also celebrate our students as well with incentives. We want to make sure everyone stays motivated to ensure that we achieve our goals,” said Pastchal-Smith.

The superintendent said preparing for graduation starts at an early age.

“One thing that I would love to stress is we don’t start preparing our students for graduation in high school. We start preparing our students in kindergarten and the current class will be part of the 2036 class. So, understanding that the students in kindergarten understand that they are preparing for graduation as they move on from elementary to middle school, to high school. So, we are preparing them early and making sure we are intentional and strategic” said Pastchal-Smith.

The Dawgs are not done just yet. Their next goal is for the district to turn that B rating into an A.

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