LANSDOWNE, Md. (WJZ) — More and more Baltimore County high schoolers are graduating.

A new study released this week shows the district has one of the highest graduation rates in the nation.

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Gigi Barnett has the details.

It’s good news, but Baltimore County school leaders say they want the number one spot. But for now, number two means they’re improving.

This is where four years of high school comes to an end. Graduation Day.

And this week, a three-year study released by Education Week Magazine shows that students in Baltimore County have the second highest graduation rate in the nation among large school districts like theirs.

“We really have to credit the previous administration,” said Mark Bedell, Assistant Superintendent.

Mark Bedell is the assistant superintendent for high schools in Baltimore County.

He says the district got on the high-grad shortlist because of two things:

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First, by adding more programs to keep students in school. And second, finding better ways to get dropouts back to class.

“We have a system where we have PPWs. These are Pupil Personnel Workers. These individuals go out. When a kid has dropped out, they’re going out and knocking on doors,” Bedell said.

“It’s harder to be a student now. There are more issues,” said Ken Miller.

Ken Miller is the principal at Lansdowne High School.

He says another factor that led to the county’s eighty-four percent graduation rate is strengthening elementary and middle school education.

“We drill down. It’s the efforts of elementary school teachers and middle school teachers to get kids the skills they need so they can handle the higher level courses and their requirements and get them on time to ninth grade. That is key,” he said.

School leaders are crediting the previous administration, run by Dr. Joe Hairston, for the changes and the improvements they see today.

Meanwhile, they say the one thing that can get them to that number one spot is improving the graduation among special need students, as well as Latinos and blacks.

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Fairfax County, Virginia is the school district with the highest graduation rate in the nation. Eighty-five percent of high schoolers receive diplomas there.