Published: Nov 19, 2010 1:41 PM EST
Updated: Nov 19, 2010 10:41 AM EST

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Officials say Florida's high school
graduation rate rose to 79 percent this year.
      The Florida Department of Education reported Thursday that the
graduation rate in 2010 was 2.5 percentage points higher than 2009.
Black and Hispanic students also made gains.
      Blacks increased their graduation rate by 13.1 percentage points
since the 2005-2006 school year. The graduation rate for Hispanics
has climbed 13.3 percentage points over the same time period.
      The state calculates its graduation rate by tracking individual
students from ninth grade to graduation. It includes standard and
special diplomas.
      Other national studies use estimates. The difference in
methodology has resulted in significant disparities between state
and national calculations.

  Here's the breakdown for Southwest Florida:

     Lee County -- 81.5 % of students graduated, a 3.6% increase from 2009.
     Charlotte County -- 86.5% of students graduated, a 1.9% increase
     Collier County-- 80.4% of students graduated, a 4.6% increase in the graduation rate