About 900 seniors will graduate from high school in the Mother Lode this year, about 100 less than last year.
Tuolumne and Calaveras counties have graduation rates slightly above state averages and the declining number of graduates follows the declining school enrollment in the Mother Lode counties, which have trended downward for over a decade.
The high schools are still working to get students to complete all the college entrance requirements before they leave, but appear to be approaching or passing the state average for the first time in some years.
Graduation rate numbers from the state last month show Tuolumne County at 81.5 percent and Calaveras County at 89 percent. The state average set a new record at 81.2 percent.
According to the high schools' initial numbers, about 40 percent of Calaveras County high-schoolers are completing the required courses to get into the California State University or University of California system.
Bret Harte High School said about 60 percent graduated with the college classes done and Calaveras High School was closer to 30 percent.
In Tuolumne County, Sonora High School had about 32 percent this year. Summerville High School's numbers were unavailable. Big Oak Flat-Groveland's small graduating classes had over 50 percent completion rates this year.
The state has not computed the numbers yet this year, but last year's analysis of 2012 put the state average at 38 percent. The two Mother Lode counties remained behind at under 25 percent.
For the complete story, see the June 2, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.