MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- New state Department of Education figures show high school graduation rates have improved steadily for five years in West Virginia, jumping 8.5 percent since the fall of 2008.
Officials credit retention and alternative-education programs in schools, as well as an anti-truancy initiative the state Supreme Court launched in 2012.
Data show that 79.3 percent of high school seniors graduated in the 2012-13 school year, up from 70.8 percent in 2008-09.
Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis on Wednesday credited circuit court judges for embracing a program that holds families accountable when children miss too much school.
She says some school boards have even hired probation officers to tackle truancy.
Experts say truancy often leads teenagers to drop out, increasing their risk of drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy and delinquency.