CHATTANOOGA (Times Free Press) - Hamilton County Schools' graduation rate made a dramatic jump during the 2010 school year, Schools Superintendent Jim Scales reported this week.

That jump, influenced by several school efforts — including some to discourage conflicts, fights, detentions, suspensions and expulsions so students stay in class — brought the graduation rate from 70.9 percent in 2009 to 78.3 percent last year.

"Kids cannot learn if they are not in school. And if they are in school, and the environment is not conducive to learning, then those (fights and disruptions) become big negatives for our students," Scales said.

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