The state's official graduation rate hit 70.8 percent after summer school graduates were counted, according to the Governor's Office of Student Achievement and the Georgia Department of Education.
Rates at local high school were around that mark- a couple surpassing the state rate and several falling behind. Rome High had a rate of 67.5 percent, Armuchee 79.1 percent, Coosa 64.4 percent, Model 82.8 percent and Pepperell 69.2 percent.
Gov. Sonny Perdue credited state spending on education with some of the jump in graduation rate.
I am proud of our students, teachers and administrators, but rest assured, we will not stop working until Georgia is at the top of the list in high school graduation rates," he said.
State School Superintendent Kathy Cox said that the graduation rate will continue to improve with Georgia's newly-instituted Georgia Performance Standards curriculum and a focus on giving students a more rigorous and relevant education.
"We won't be satisfied until our graduation rate is 100 percent and I know we have the plan in place to make that happen," she said. "Georgia's first-class educators deserve much of the credit for getting Georgia's graduation rate headed in the right direction."
Earlier this year, the legislature passed an initiative placing a graduation coach in each of Georgia's high schools. The primary responsibility for each graduation coach is to identify and work with at-risk students and help them stay on track for graduation. Graduation coaches also identify, recruit and engage concerned organizations and agencies to serve in a variety of supplementary roles in their communities.
See Sunday's Rome News-Tribune for a story package on graduation coaches in Rome and Floyd County