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District’s latest graduation rate report is reason to celebrate

There should have been more fanfare. There should have been a celebration, a gathering, or even a parade to celebrate the news.

Instead, at a time when gatherings for the size of an event needed to properly celebrate the news is frowned upon, a press release is about as good as it can get.

Last week, the Vicksburg Warren School District announced the latest graduation rates that showed 86.9 percent of students positioned to graduate as part of the Class of 2020 did so. Not only is that a historic high for the District, it also surpasses the national average graduation rate for the first time.

That sounds like reason enough to celebrate. And, early data shows that number could reach even higher with the Class of 2021.

Since the 2009-2010 school year, the District’s graduation rate has increased 35.2 points. Over the same time period, the state’s average graduation rate increased only 13.6 percentage points. This accomplishment also exceeds the school board’s original strategic goal of increasing the graduation rate by 20 percentile points.

And the District’s success does not end at graduation. The District has long adopted the belief that every graduate — every student — should leave school with an “exit strategy.”

“By helping students connect with an exit strategy — enrolled, enlisted, entrepreneur, or employed with meaningful credentials, we are engaging them in relevant learning and building strong student/teacher relationships,” Superintendent Chad Shealy said.

With the strong leadership at the Vicksburg Warren School District and at our private schools, combined with the expert economic leadership, this report and other metrics show that Warren County is making the right investments at the right time.

“Economic development success for our community depends in part on the quality of our educational systems and the workforce they prepare. This achievement will certainly help us in selling our community to investors and in creating more and better jobs,” Vicksburg-Warren Economic Development Partnership CEO Pablo Diaz said.

The graduation rate is just one statistic that shows our community’s educational environment is changing — has changed — for the better and we could not be more thankful for those who have driven that change home.

There’s reason to celebrate and maybe, given the direction the fight against this ongoing pandemic has taken, getting together to mark this and other occasions is not too far down the road.