Missouri high school graduation rates rise dramatically since 2011

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released information showing that, in 2014, Missouri's high school graduation rate increased by 10 percent over the past three years. In 2011, Missouri's high school graduation rate was at 78 percent. Three years later, 87 percent of high school seniors graduated in Missouri. For Columbia the rate is 90 percent.

Columbia Public Schools said it has a lot of programs to help students be successful and to ultimately graduate from the school district.

"We have everything in place from our success centers in our schools, to support programs like AVID,and our Mac Scholars Program," Community Relations Director for Columbia Public Schools Michelle Baumstark said.

One of the newer programs Baumstark emphasized was Missouri Options Program, which "allows students to still be able to earn their credits through high school but also be able to work."

Baumstark said, "I think one of the key factors is, if a child believes he or she can be successful, and that the teacher and the educators involved also believe that child can be successful, you're gonna see more positive things happening, and one of the things we are seeing is an increase in our own graduation rate." 

Baumstark said the district makes sure it has supports in place.

"We have an awesome counseling program for our students to be able to get the additional support they need but, there's a lot of things that come together in order to make sure all of our students needs are addressed everything from social, to emotional well being, to their academic success. By doing that we are able to see the increase in the number of graduates."

Baumstark said the rise in Columbia's graduation rate can be credited, in part, to educators.

"We know that anytime that students have contact with high quality educators you who really support them and that they are in a community that supports its school that you're gonna see students be successful."