MERCED — The percentage of students who graduated from Merced Union High School District campuses jumped 6.7 percent in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years, with nine out of 10 students getting their diplomas.
The district graduation rate is 92.6 percent, putting the district 8.7 percentage points above the county average and 14.1 percentage points above the state average, according to George Sziraki, assistant superintendent for education.
"It's a complete team effort," Superintendent Scott Scambray said. "I'm just proud to see all sites working together to do what's best for kids."
Sziraki said the average graduation rate in the state is 78.5 percent; the Merced County average is 83.9 percent. The district has campuses in Merced, Atwater and Livingston.
He said several factors contributed to the district's superior performance, including increased student participation in co-curricular and extracurricular activities, a wider selection of elective courses, high expectations for student achievement, a revamped intervention program and efforts by district employees to cultivate meaningful relationships with students.
Trustee Dave Honey greeted the news enthusiastically.
"I think it's fantastic," Honey said. "We want kids to go all the way through school. This is a real bonus, and students see the value of coming to school. I'm happy we are improving and keep working on it. It's all about the kids."
Trustee Dora Crane said she is very proud of what the high school district has accomplished.
"Everybody's part of that, whatever their job is," Crane said. "We are the shining star right here and I'm looking forward to making it (the graduation rate) even higher. We're the jewel of the county."
Crane said parents value the education their children are getting, and the results show up in the higher graduation rate.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.