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Happy graduates received diplomas at Berwick High's 2017 commencement last month. The school's 2015-16 graduation rate was over 90 percent. Photo by Bill Decker

Graduation rates set record

St. Mary Parish’s public school graduation rate reached 84.9 percent in 2015-16, beating the statewide rate by more than 12 percentage points, according to statistics from the state Department of Education.
The state’s graduation rate is 77 percent.
“The ongoing and highly collaborative effort personified by high school administrators, guidance counselors, and teachers have resulted in continued increases in graduation rates,” Superintendent Leonard Armato said in a press release.
Berwick High, Morgan City High and Patterson High schools also reached record graduation rates this year.
Centerville High School’s rate was 100 percent.
So was Central Catholic, a Catholic high school whose graduation rate is not included in the public school figures.
“It is a cooperative effort between teachers, parents, and students to make sure they are all working together to-wards graduation then college,” said Vic Bonnaffee, principal of Central Catholic.
The state monitors students’ progress as incoming freshmen until the time they graduate. The state uses online data and tools such as the Dropout Early Warning System to relay preventative measures to schools to keep students on track.
Transfer students are also monitored but are not included in determining the overall graduation rates.
Coinciding with graduation rates, the state announced credential rates for schools and the districts. Advanced credentials are earned when students score a 3 or higher on an advance placement test, a score of 50 or higher on a college level examination program course test, or earn an Advance Jumpstart credit.
Basic credentials are earned when students earn a credit in a TOPS core curriculum course that is also an AP course, college credit, dual enrollment, or earn a Basic Jumpstart credit.
Half of St. Mary Parish graduates have earned either advanced or basic credential compared to the state’s average of 42.7 percent. Berwick High, Morgan City High and Centerville High schools have exceeded the state’s average in combined credential rates.

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