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Poplarville has fourth best graduation rate in state

Poplarville School District has the fourth highest graduation rate in the state for the 2019-2020 school year. All three local school districts saw their four year graduation rates improve from the previous school year.

The Office of Accountability reported 2021 high school graduation and drop out rates in March. The state measures graduation and dropout rates by looking at how many students completed high school in 2020 after entering ninth grade for the first time in the 2016-2017 school year.

Statewide, the graduation rate was 87.7 percent, with a dropout rate of 8.8 percent. This continues a trend of an improving statewide graduation rate over the last six years. The 2020 rate was 85 percent.

Poplarville School District

At 96.1 percent, Poplarville had the fourth highest graduation rate in the state of Mississippi for the 2019-2020 school year. The district’s drop out rate was 1.3 percent.
Poplarville High School Principal Jon Will credited the hard work of teachers, students and parents for the high graduation rate.

“It’s just a team effort with our parents, students, staff. They work really well together,” he said. “We have a systemic approach to the graduation paths. We try to communicate that well with the students and parents and work hard as a team to achieve the goals for the students graduating.”

Poplarville also had the ninth highest graduation rate for students with disabilities, 75 percent. There were 16 students with disabilities in that graduating class.

Broken down by demographic group, the graduation rate was 93.3 percent for Black students, 96.3 percent for white students, 100 percent for female students, 92 percent for male students and 95.1 percent for economically disadvantaged students.

That Poplarville did so well did not surprise Will. In 2020, Poplarville had the ninth highest graduation rate in the state, at 92.6 percent, for seniors in the 2018-2019 school year.

“No one wants to come to a job or go to a school where they feel like they don’t have a chance to succeed,” said Will. “Those are just things we talk to the students about and it seems like they’ve bought in well.”

Pearl River County School District

For the 2019-2020 school year, Pearl River County School District had an 89.8 percent graduation rate. The dropout rate was 7.4 percent.

For the previous school year, the district had an 87.5 percent graduation rate.

Broken down by demographic group, Black students had a 92.9 percent graduation rate, students of two or more races had a 78.6 percent graduation rate, white students had a 90 percent graduation rate, female students had a 93.3 percent graduation rate, male students had an 86.6 percent graduation rate, economically disadvantaged students had a 91.5 percent graduation rate and students with disabilities had a 68.6 percent graduation rate.

Graduation rates increased within all of those demographic groups, except Black students, because there were no seniors included in that demographic category in the 2018-2019 school year, so there was no graduation rate reported for that demographic that school year.

The graduation rate for students with disabilities went from 45.5 percent in the 2018-2019 school year to 68.6 percent in the 2019-2020 school year.

Picayune School District

Picayune School District’s graduation rate was higher than the previous school year at 85.8 percent. The graduation rate is lower than the state average.

The previous graduation rate from the 2019-2018 school year was 80.8 percent.

Broken down by demographic, the Picayune School District graduation rate for Black students was 90.2 percent, for white students it was 85.3 percent, female students had an 87.9 percent graduation rate, male students had an 83.8 percent graduation rate, economically disadvantaged students had an 88.8 percent graduation rate and students with disabilities had a 46.2 percent graduation rate.

In all but one of these demographic categories, the district saw graduation rates improve. The exception was students with disabilities, who previously had a 50 percent graduation rate.

The graduation rate for Black students went from 77 percent in the 2018-2019 school year to 90.2 percent in the 2019-2020 school year. The graduation rate for male students increased from 76.4 percent to 83.8 percent. In the 2018-2019 school year, economically disadvantaged students had an 83.2 percent graduation rate, which went up to 88.8 percent.