Wyoming Superintendent Jillian Balow says the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act will give Wyoming school districts the latitude they need to improve graduation rates.

A state report issued Monday shows the state's graduation rate improved slightly for the 2014-15 school year compared to the previous year.

The increase was less than a percentage point (from 78.61 percent to 79.41 percent), and Wyoming is still below the national average of 81 percent.

But Balow says under the previous federal No Child Left Behind act "we had our hands tied in several ways." She says that included a focus on broad statewide averages in graduation rates as well as other measurements.

She says the new law will allow the state to focus more on schools that aren't doing well and in general will give the state more room to "open up our thinking" on graduation rates.

Balow says the new law will also allow the state to put more money into educational areas that fit the state's needs rather than being locked into spending money into areas ordered by federal guidelines.

In Laramie County School District#1, Central High School (89.63 percent) and East High School (84.08 percent) were above the statewide graduation rate for 2014-2015 while South High School (69.23 percent) and Triumph High School (22.23 percent) were below the state average in the new report.

In Natrona County, Casper Natrona High school had a graduation rate of 80.37 percent while Kelly Walsh High School had a rate of 78.57 percent.

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