New data shows Iowa has the highest graduation rate in the count - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

New data shows Iowa has the highest graduation rate in the country

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DONNELLSON, Ia. (WGEM) -

New data shows the Hawkeye State has the highest graduation rate in the country

And one local high school is setting the bar even higher.

The national average high school graduation rate in 2011 is 78% The state of Iowa had the highest rate at 88%. But Central Lee High School is actually giving 92% of students diplomas.

At Central Lee High School in Donnellson, administrators say their drop out rate is so low, they rarely have a senior leave without a diploma.

Family consumer science and special education teacher Melanie Scheetz credits their success to the one-on-one time students get with teachers.

"There are many teachers here before school hours, after school hours, students generally know that they can come to us. There is a very good student-teacher relationship going on with the students," said Scheetz.

Thirty percent of the student body are open enrolled, which means their families live outside of the district, but opted to send their kids to Central Lee because of the education they receive there.

Scheetz says she feels that the students really want to be at school, so that helps the education process run more smoothly.

"We have a lot of students that are open enrolled so they choose to come here and be apart of our activities," said Scheetz.

One of those open enrolled students is Ramon Libarnes, whose family lives in Fort Madison, but chose to send him to Central Lee.

Libarnes says he thinks the smaller school environment helps the students learn more.

"We're isolated, we're not really in town or anything it makes it so that we rely on each other," said Libarnes.

Libarnes also likes how the teachers are always there to help when students need it.

"There is always time that they set aside and try to work through some things with us," said Libarnes. 

Illinois and Missouri don't rank as well as Iowa but we still above the national average.

Illinois' state graduation rate is 84% and Missouri's rate is 81%.

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