JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Duval County is making strides when it comes to gradation rates. The district is now at 72.1 percent -- the highest rate in district history.
"I enjoy being in this field. I enjoy being in public education," said principal Denise Hall.
Hall has made it her mission to make sure Jacksonville kids are equipped to succeed. She has served as principal at Lee High School for eight years.
Wednesday she was thrilled to learn her dedication is paying off.
"It is certainly a reflection of the hard work the teachers and the students put in last year," she said.
Duval County Schools Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti unveiled new numbers Wednesday afternoon. He said the district progressed by paying close attention to each student's achievement and rewarding them publicly in school.
"We became very hands-on as a district to not just accept schools saying I'm doing A, B and C but we went back to make sure they're actually doing A, B and C," he said.
Lee High saw a nearly 13 percent increase in graduation rate -- the district's highest.
"Teachers and administrators gave up their time on Saturdays to help kids with their ACT's. After school [they] helped tutoring, helped get their grades where they need to be so this graduation rate could happen," Hall said.
Duval County also recorded the biggest increase in the African-American graduation rate among the state's seven largest districts.
The district still has work to do to meet the state graduation average. Vitti said his goal is to exceed it in the next two years.
The results can be read online