By Jimmy Espy, General Manager
All three Murray County high schools improved their graduation rates in the 2018-19 school year, according to statistics released recently by the Georgia Department of Education.
The success in Murray County echoed similar gains statewide. The percentage of students in 2018-19 across the state who graduated within four years of starting high school edged up to 82 percent. That was up from 81.6 percent the previous year and 81 percent in 2017.
Murray County High School, North Murray High School and Pleasant Valley Innovative School combined to graduate 95 percent of their students — much better than the state average.
“Our faculty and staff at the high schools have worked hard to make sure that every student at our high schools has a chance to graduate,” said Superintendent Steve Loughridge.
One of the things Loughridge believes has helped is the presence of three counselors at the schools.
“They’ve done good work in making sure everyone meets the requirements to graduate,” Loughridge said.
In the 2018-19 school year Pleasant Valley Innovative graduated 30 of 41 students (73.2 percent); North Murray graduated 176 of 180 (97.8 percent); Murray County graduated 214 of 221 (96.8 percent).
All three schools improved on their numbers from the previous year.
North Murray High School Principal Maria Bradley said she believes the key to helping students graduate is “building relationships.”
“Good relationships with kids is more important than any program,” Bradley said. “I preach the importance of relationship, letting the kids know you care about them and want them to be successful.”
Bradley said her school has “layers” of support for students — teachers and guidance counselors who offer “as much support as we can to help the kids stay in school.”