The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) recently released the high school graduation rates for the 2018-19 school year, which show the state’s graduation rate has hit an all-time high of 85%, higher than the most recent national graduation rate. The 2019 national graduation rate is expected to be released soon. The graduation rate for students with disabilities nearly doubled from 23.2% in 2014 to 42.2% this year. The state’s drop-out rate fell to a historic low of 9.7%, a decrease from 13.9% in 2014. “Mississippi’s rising graduation rate is the result of our students’ significant academic gains in recent years. Student achievement is at an all-time high and is continuing to climb,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “I congratulate teachers, school leaders, and parents for helping students complete high school prepared for college, postsecondary training, the military, and the workforce.” High school students now have the opportunity to earn an endorsement with their high school diploma. Starting in grade 9, students choose whether they want to work toward a traditional diploma, or take additional classes to earn an academic, distinguished academic, or career and technical education endorsement. Students can earn more than one endorsement. Each diploma option prepares students to be successful after graduation, whether that be in the workforce, a career and technical training program, the military or college. Students who earn an academic or distinguished academic diploma endorsement from a public high school automatically qualify for admission into any of the state’s public universities. Mississippi’s high school graduation rate is calculated in accordance with federal and state law using a four-year cohort method. The 2020 graduation rate is based on students who entered grade 9 for the first time in the 2015-16 school year. Graduation rates for 2018-19 will be reflected in the accountability ratings for the 2019-20 school year.