Jefferson County Public Schools’ 2012 graduation rates have improved slightly over last year.

Officials are celebrating some key indicators: The most recent 2011-2012 data says 69.4 percent of JCPS students graduated last year. Data for the 2010-2011 school year shows the rate was 67.8–a decrease from the previous year.

In the 2011-2012 school year, the state’s graduation rates was 77.8 percent.  The 2010-2011 year it was 78.8, which was an improvement over the previous year.

This year, JCPS also outpaced the state in graduation rates for African American students, which rose from 62.7 to 65.3Officials further add over the past four years African American students have improved graduation rates by 7 percentage points. That’s the largest improvement over that period for any racial group, but it still lags behind white students.

Following a slip in JCPS graduation rates last year, Superintendent Donna Hargens said at the time the district should use that as a catalyst to increase student achievement.  Hargens attributes the gains this year to some of the district’s targeted interventions and personalized instruction, but she says more work still needs to be done.

Kentucky is changing the way it calculates graduation rates to fit a national model.  Officials say it will provide a more accurate depiction for each year’s graduating class.