New Bedford School officials say more students are graduating from New Bedford High School, and fewer students are dropping out.

Figures from the Mass. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education show the annual dropout rate at New Bedford High School has declined to 2.9%. It was over five percent in 2012.

While the High Schools four-year graduation rate showed a slight decline in 2015, less than 1%, the High School's five year graduation rate stands at 67.7%, the highest its been since the state began keeping statistics on five-year graduations eight years ago.

Headmaster Bernadette Coelho says there's nothing wrong with students taking more time to graduate. "It shows that New Bedford High School does not give up. When students come through our doors, its not one size fits all. It make take some folks a little longer to get there, but at the end of the day, they're getting there and meeting the goals," said Coelho.

Superintendent Pia Durkin says the five year graduation rate "underscores our commitment to insuring that all students are given the supports they need in order to graduate."

On the drop out issue, New Bedford has made some gains over the past five years. Two-hundred-37 students dropped out in 2010. Last year just 91 students dropped out. The improvement was highlighted in a press release issued by the D-E-S-E.