BYRON — Byron Public Schools can add another accomplishment to its list.

Byron High School showed an overall 100 percent four-year graduation rate. The statewide average is 82.7 percent. Byron was one of 19 school districts statewide to report a 100 percent graduation rate in 2017.

Byron recorded a 96.8 percent rate in 2016 and a 94.1 percent rate in 2015. Since 2012, the state’s average graduation rate has climbed 4.3 percentage points.

Overall, Minnesota has a graduation rate goal of 90 percent by 2020, and no single student group with a graduation rate lower than 85 percent, according to the Minnesota Department of Education’s annual report card.

Byron Principal Steve Willman gave credit for the district’s accomplishment to staff members and educators for challenging students in the classroom and building relationships with each student. Willman also credited a number of district initiatives:

• The district’s advises students to meet with teachers for a half-hour during the school day.

• Classes stress more personalized learning.

• The district uses grading practices that emphasize learning above compliance.

• Classes are created to accelerate students who may have gaps in their learning experiences in reading and math.

“We were very proud that overall in the state, districts are continuing to increase graduation rates and improve education and learning for all of our students,” Willman said. “In Byron, we view this as a testament to the efforts of our K-12 staff and students as well as their families. We have a committed staff, hardworking students and families that prize and value education.”

Five other Southeast Minnesota high schools also reported a 100 percent four-year graduation rate. LeRoy-Ostrander High School was among them.

“I am very proud of the perfect graduation rate,” said LeRoy-Ostrander Superintendent Jeff Sampson. “A lot of hard work is put in by our students each year, and our staff is simply amazing in the work they do with our students.

“Educating children takes more than just one or two people, and the people living in the district and working in the schools all contribute toward the success of our students each and every year. The support from the community has been great.”

Continuing to improve

Despite the successes that Byron district sees, Willman said it was important to continue building on success and not rest on it.

“We as an organization have a relentless approach toward continuous improvement,” Willman said. “We constantly question and gather data to improve our students’ learning and experience. Our staff are willing to do what is best for kids and learning. Our community has high expectations and our staff push themselves to exceed those expectations. We know that to maintain the status quo in education is to miss opportunities for growth.”

2017 area high school graduation rates

The state average four-year graduation rate is 82.7 percent, according tothe Minnesota Department of Education's annual report card. Where does your high school compare? Six Southeast Minnesota schools reported 100 percent graduation rates. 

High School 4-Year Graduation Rate for 2017 State Average
Austin High School 79.4 percent 82.7 percent
Byron High School 100 percent 82.7 percent
Cannon Falls High School 96.2 percent 82.7 percent
Chatfield High School 98.2 percent 82.7 percent
Century High School 90.6 percent 82.7 percent
Dover-Eyota High School 91.9 percent 82.7 percent
Fillmore Central High School 95.9 percent 82.7 percent
Goodhue High School 95.7 percent 82.7 percent
Grand Meadow High School 96.3 percent 82.7 percent
Hayfield High School 90.2 percent 82.7 percent
Houston High School 100 percent 82.7 percent
John Marshall High School 90.1 percent 82.7 percent
Kasson-Mantorville High School 98.6 percent 82.7 percent
Kenyon-Wanamingo 97.3 percent 82.7 percent
Kingsland High School 95 percent 82.7 percent
La Crescent-Hokah High School 100 percent 82.7 percent
Lanesboro High School 92.0 percent 82.7 percent
LeRoy-Ostrander High School 100 percent 82.7 percent
Lewiston-Altura High School 90.8 percent 82.7 percent
Lincoln High School (Lake City) 89.8 percent 82.7 percent
Lyle High School 100 percent 82.7 percent
Mabel-Canton High School 87.5 percent 82.7 percent
Mayo High School 94.1 percent 82.7 percent
Pine Island High School 96 percent 82.7 percent
Plainview-Elgin-Millville High School 95 percent 82.7 percent
Red Wing High School 90.8 percent 82.7 percent
Rushford-Peterson High School 94.9 percent 82.7 percent
Southland High School 93.3 percent 82.7 percent
Spring Grove High School 100 percent 82.7 percent
Stewartville High School 93.2 percent 82.7 percent
St. Charles High School 98.8 percent 82.7 percent
Triton High School 92.2 percent 82.7 percent
Winona High School 95.3 percent 82.7 percent
Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School 93.3 percent 82.7 percent

​​Have some regional news from Dodge, Fillmore, or Mower County that you'd like to share? Contact Hannah at 507-285-7744, or by email at

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