Graduation Rates

Good news for students and their parents, federal statistics show the national graduation rate has increased and is now at 80%.

"She's always pushed me to be better than her, to make sure I wouldn't fall into her steps because statistically I would be pregnant like my mother and have a child but I wanted to prove that statistic wrong," said Alyssa Parra, a senior at Pasco High Shool, as she talks about her mother's encouragement when it comes to school.

In about a month, Parra will be the first person in her family to graduate from high school.

She is part of the increase of students in the Pasco School District getting their diplomas.

According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Washington State Report Card, the Pasco School District had an overall graduation rate of 71% in the 2012-2013 school year, a 6% percent increase from the year before.

The district has an intervention program where each student is assigned to an adult who will help them with any struggles they may be having with their school work and personal life.

Pasco High School Principal Raul Sital said kids are encouraged to take part in extracurricular activites as well.

"What we know is if students believe this is their school, they're going to stay and they're going to stay for four years and they're going to graduate," said Sital.

The Kennewick School District has implemented a number of programs including success coordinators and afterschool tutoring to keep students in school.

According to the district, the graduation rate has increased by 1% to nearly 75% since those programs made their way in its schools four years ago.

The district wants to make sure students graduate, but the goal is also to prepare them for life after high school.

"It's just so important in getting kids the skills they need to move on after high school, whether it be in the world of work or trade schools and colleges, but we need them to be ready," said
Ron Williamson, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools for the Kennewick School District.

The Richland School District's graduation rate was just over the curent national average in the 2011, but that number went down to 77% in 2012.

The district has principals and counselors working to keep families involved in their student's academics in hopes of improving that number.

The statewide graduation rate last year was 77%, nearly a half percent increase from the year before.

Both locally and statewide, the numbers are not too far behind the national average, but Parra said it's up to her and fellow classmates to raise those numbers.

"Just keep going because you would just regret it," said Parra. "There's so much to life, this is only a fourth of your life and it's coming to a close, it's time to start a new path."