Central Consolidated, Farmington, and Aztec school districts saw their rates increase. Bloomfield lost ground.
Central Consolidated topped the local districts with the highest average graduation rate, 71.7 percent, according to a report from the New Mexico Public Education Department released in late January. Central Consolidated received their results last week.
The report recorded the five-year graduation rates of all the school districts in the state.
Central Consolidated district's rate jumped by 8.8 percent since 2011, and 18.6 percent since 2008. It is the first time that the district has achieved the top ranking for graduation rates in the county.
Farmington had the second highest rate with 70.5 percent of its students graduating in 2012. The state's rate was not far behind at 70.3 percent, which also was up slightly from 2011.
Both Central Consolidated and Farmington districts' overall rates were helped by having the top performing high schools in the county.
Kirtland Central High School had the highest rate in the county with a rate of 80.7. Piedra Vista High School had the second highest graduation rate in the county with 76.4 percent. Newcomb High School was not far behind with 74.6 percent.
"GEAR UP," a statewide program that pushes seniors to graduate and pursue education or careers after they graduate high school, may have had something to do with the improved graduation rates. Piedra Vista High School and Farmington High School were two of the schools chosen to participate.
"This is the year that the students in (GEAR UP) all have graduated," said Robert Emerson, the Farmington district's assistant superintendent for technology, assessment and accountability.
Aztec had a graduation rate of 67.3 percent, up 2.4 percent since 2011.
Bloomfield's rate was 64.2 percent, down 1.7 percent since last year. While it saw a drop from last year, its rate has risen more than any other district's in the past five years.
Its low rate in 2012 was weighed down by the lower than usual rate of Charlie Y. Brown High School, an alternative high school in Bloomfield. The graduation rate was 21.1 percent, half of what it was in 2011.
"One of the things we have to take into account is the different population of students," said Joe Rasor, Bloomfield district superintendent.
This past year's senior class simply did not have the same performance as others, though it's not to say they lacked the potential, Rasor said.
The district is looking at different ways to better student performance, particularly by increasing attendance, Rasor said.