SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Springfield Public Schools have one of the lowest graduation rates in the state but there is a sign of improvement; more students are graduating from public high schools.
The District saw a 4.5% increase to 56.6% in 2012.
The School Department says this change didn't happen overnight. "It really is the result of several years of work and some programs that have been implemented that are starting to take root and starting to come to fruition right now," said Azell Cavaan, Communications Director of the Springfield School Department.
They credit things like free summer and night school. Also online recovery courses for people who are behind who would rather learn from home. As well as focus at pivotal times like 9th grade and drop-out tracking indicators early on.
This is something that's encouraging for both students and parents at the High School of Commerce which is a level 4 performing school.
Like Shaki Holines who has a full scholarship to UConn after graduation, "I see a lot more people in school because people are starting to realize college is really important in society now that you need college to get a good job."
"I'm just so happy for Shaki because he came a long way and he did it on his own he struggled and he kept himself focused, he wanted to be a football player and he got his grades up and I'm just happy for him," said Margie Coakley, Shaki's mother.
However, the School Department acknowledges there's still a lot more work to be done.
Springfield has the third lowest graduation rate among the state's major districts only behind Holyoke and New Bedford.
This trend seems to be nationwide as well, the high school graduation rate in the U.S. is the highest its been since 1976.