ANTHONY, N.M. — The United States Department of Education ranked New Mexico as the second to last state in the country when it comes to overall high school graduation rates.
Las Cruces Public Schools and Gadsden Independent School District both surpassed the 63% graduation rate in the state during the 2010-2011 school year.
"That is the focus of what we're trying to do for our students in our schools," said Yvonne Casillas, director of data, student Information and state testing for Gadsden ISD.
The last two years, Gadsden has graduated more than 80 percent of their students with the class of 2011 graduating at a rate of 81.3 percent.
Gadsden as well as all other New Mexico public schools are under the 4-year cohort graduation rate program.
The state implanted the program in 2009 where students graduate within four years of when they were first freshman.
Casillas said there are many factors that can affect rates such as an exit code when the student leaves the district.
"If you have a student that just doesn't come to school and decides that he's just not going to come back to school, that code will hurt us," Casillas said.
At LCPS the graduation rate was at 70.8 percent during the same year.
The district has a 90 percent attendance policy that has helped them keep students from dropping out.
The district has also been working with the district attorney's office helping track down parents of students who are missing school.
Those parents could face fines and possibly jail time.
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US DEPT OF EDUCATION RATES: