PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–Bay District Schools is celebrating a three year trend of increased graduation rates. The district is on an upward trend since 2016 despite battling a Hurricane Michael in between.
For the 2018-2019 school year, Bay District Schools reported an 82.5% graduation rate, a nearly 1.5% raise from last year.
“One year you might consider it an anomoly, 3 years in a row shows a trend,” said Superintendent Bill Husfelt.
Husfelt says he couldn’t be more proud of the students for graduating.
The students managed to continue to recover from Hurricane Michael all while still working for their diplomas.
“I don’t know if any graduating class in the state of Florida has had the history that this class will have to look back and say ‘you dont know what I had to overcome to walk across the stage’,” Husfelt said.
The district credits its success to their sense of community and the Graduation Pathways program.
“They realized we’re all in this boat together and we have 2 choices, we can either give up or come together and unite and do what we know we have to do,” Husfelt said.
The Graduation Pathways program, led by Jennifer Jennings, had to use all of their resources to help each students individual challenges.
“Students sleeping on couches, students traveling back and forth from Dothan, Alabama just to be able to go to Arnold High School and get a diploma,” said Jennings.
The district says if the rate was able to include those that took more than 4 years to graduate, their rate would be 87%.