New data shows highest high school graduation rate since '76

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New data out today shows the U.S. has the highest graduation rate since 1976, at 78.2 percent

But locally, Texoma schools average around the low '90s.

Administrators say the key is to keep students motivated.

At Durant High School, Principal Cheryl Conditt said course-work is above state minimal requirements.

"High expectations of our students. Expecting them to achieve and succeed, as well as giving them the opportunity to do so," she said.

Their teachers also put in extra work, Conditt said.

"They provide a lot of extra help to our students. We offer tutorials before school," she said. "A lot of teachers will stay after school, to be able to help students pass their classes."

At Bells High School, Superintendent Joe Moore said the idea is to engage students with new ways of learning.

"Our students now are very active at home on the computers, and technologies in their lives constantly, you see very few without an i-Phone or some type of technological device in their hands," he said.

That's why they're bringing new technology into the classroom.

"If it's something that's boring, and something we don't have any interest in, and we feel like we're wasting our time, we're gonna quit that, and we're gonna drop out," he said.

And it's harder to get a job without a high school diploma these days, Moore said.

"So we feel like we need, it's part of our responsibility to provide them with some skills if they can go into the workforce, and we do a really good job of that in our Ag science classrooms and our career technology classes," he said.

And Conditt agrees - the most important thing is to prepare their students.

"And we take pride in trying to do everything that we possibly can to help our students succeed and achieve and be prepared for the next level, whether it's college or career, whatever they choose to do. We want them to be prepared," she said.

Latest graduation rates for Durant High School put them at 98.5 percent. Bells graduated 89.8 percent. Those statistics come from the respective state departments of education.

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