Madera Unified breaks graduation rate record amid distance learning

Madera Unified's graduation rate for 2020 was over 92%, up 3% from the previous year.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Amid distance learning, Madera Unified is breaking its own records. The district is helping more students turn the tassel and walk across the graduation stage than ever before.

When COVID-19 forced Madera Unified to close their classrooms, the district said they were concerned about their seniors.

"We were worried for our students in the spring," said Madera South High School Principal Aimee Anderson. "Part of the struggle was the unknown. We thought we were going to be back in three weeks."

With graduation on the line, staff buckled down.

"Reaching out to them, and making sure they knew that goal of still going to that college they wanted to attend was still there, and they had hope," said Madera South High School Head Counselor Sarah White. "Because that's what we experienced with a lot of students. They were frustrated with how the year was turning out last year."

The extra hours paid off. Madera Unified's graduation rate for 2020 was over 92%. That's nearly a 3% increase from the previous year and the highest graduation rate in the district's history, even amid distance learning.

"We try to get to them early, in ninth grade, to start those interventions early, to start to learn those study skills, communication skills," explained White.

Madera South High School is even surpassing the district with a graduation rate of over 97% in 2020. It's the highest rate of all the high schools in Madera Unified.

"The important thing for our staff and students to understand as well as our community is that those high school ambitions and dreams and all the things they want to do are still really important, and they're achievable," said Anderson.

Now the district is focused on keeping the trend going and assisting their students through distance learning challenges.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.