Monroe County graduation rates outpace state average

MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – The class of 2022 had a record-high graduation rate in Mississippi.

According to the Mississippi Department of Education, 88.9% of students received their diplomas.

In Monroe County, graduation rates outpaced the state average.

With a collective 90.5% graduation rate, county schools Hamilton, Hatley, and Smithville had 168 students graduate in 2022.

Locally, Monroe County had the lowest dropout rate of 7.7%.

Monroe County Superintendant Chad O’Brian said numbers like these are worth celebrating.

Encouraging students from a young age is part of the plan to ensure kids excel and reach their end goals.

“When you graduate 90% of your students that’s something to be proud of. Our schools do an excellent job of that and that starts early. That’s not just something we start their senior year. All of our kids from the time they enter 7th grade are on a graduation track and we identify early what interests are and it’s very important keeping kids in school,” said O’Brian.

The superintendent said that keeping kids interested in learning starts with giving them opportunities.

The Monroe County Advanced Learning Center and VOTECH give students greater access to college courses and technical training.

“We increase interest our ALC offers a variety of options to our kids. Our kids can graduate with like up to 18 hours of college credit by the time they leave. That’s a lot of incentive for kids to stay in school. Our CTC center does an amazing job of working with our kids that maybe want to learn a skill,” said O’Brian.

2022 graduates experienced high school differently than previous students because of Covid.

Many transitioned to virtual learning and some may have fallen behind.

O’Brian said that they still see learning gaps from the pandemic, but the 2022 grads continued to stick it through during the unknown.

“It’s just phenomenal. To see it at this high level for a district with 2,000 students is just a really great achievement that a lot of people were involved in,” said O’Brian.

The next question is – how do they keep up the good work and continue to excel?

The superintendent says to support the teachers, and everything else will fall into place.

“I want all of our teachers to know that they have administrators that stand behind them and support them and give them the freedom to do their job,” said O’Brian.

The superintendent said that while he may be biased he believes he has some of the best teachers, parents, and students in his district

and that he is excited to see his students thrive.

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