High School graduation rates up across Tuscaloosa

Tuscaloosa City and County schools have seen a spike in graduation rates. (

Tuscaloosa City and County school leaders are rejoicing after finding out graduation rates are up at all high schools, significantly in some cases.

Its the first time in five years both systems are seeing the jump together.

Thursday, ABC 33/40 visited Paul W. Bryant High School, which saw the highest increase in the city school system.{}{} Calculus teacher, Andrea Markham has a way of pulling her students into the lesson. "Anything we can do to really get the students into and invested into their learning ultimately helps everybody," she said.

The idea of engaging students more appears to be working.{} Graduation rates rose in the Tuscaloosa City School system from 65% to 72%. and from 68% to 77% in the county system.

Bryant High's principal,{}Linda{}Harper told {}ABC 3340, "Some of the things we're working on...working with the University of Alabama bringing in programs, like our robotics, our chess program."

Superintendent Paul McKendrick says the success can not be contributed to any one initiative...but, there has been a major stress on engaging students. "Planned chaos in rooms, we expect to see that -- we expect to see children in engaged, to see them collaborating -- working with other people."

Although the city's graduation rate is still below the state's average, more seniors seem motivated to graduate. "I plan on working in Biology, Pre Med," said Senior Dominique Cain.{} She's a senior in Markham's highly energetic calculus class.{} She already has a college scholarship.{}"Its hands on...and we can tell she really cares about us. I like, I love it actually."

Dr. McKendrick says he would like for graduation rates to be even higher at this point but he believes in a couple of years they will be in line with the state average.