Hernando 2020 graduation rate

This chart shows the steady increase in graduation rates in the Hernando County School District since 2016.

High school graduation rates are up in Hernando County, particularly good news in a year when COVID-19 challenged students and educators to an unprecedented degree, according to school officials.

The numbers released last week show the overall graduation rate for the Hernando school district in 2020 was 91.7%, an increase of 3.3 percentage points over 2019. The 2020 rate is 1.7 percentage points above the state average and continues an upward trend seen in recent years.

“It is certainly gratifying to see these results after such a challenging year,” said Gina Michalicka, assistant superintendent of Teaching & Learning. “Our school district remained fully committed to closing the achievement gap for all students.

“Throughout 2020, each school team of school administrators, teachers and instructional specialists continued to seek out, implement and track highly effective strategies to help students graduate on time.”

The Hernando graduation rate has been trending up over the last five years. In 2016, the rate was just 81.1%. To help ensure improvement continues, the school district sought a tax increase to raise teacher pay, update computer equipment and expand and improve educational programs. Voters approved the 1 mill increase to property taxes in the November election.

The breakdown of the county’s high schools shows in 2020 eSchool graduation rates were the highest at 100%. Weeki Wachee High School was second at 95.92%. Springstead High followed at 90.28%, then Nature Coast Technical at 89.59, Hernando High at 88.49, and Central High at 82.88%.

“Despite a school year marked by quickly shifting factors and priorities that required patience from us all, I am so proud of the class of 2020 and everyone who worked on their behalf,” said John Stratton, superintendent of schools. “Teachers retooled their instruction, students adjusted to new learning platforms and parents gave us grace when difficult decisions had to be made.

“Even under difficult circumstances, we are a community that unites around student success and these results are the evidence.”