Superintendent focuses on achievement, progress in Huntsville’s State of the Schools address

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - In Huntsville City Schools there is much progress to be made and challenges to overcome. But if one thing was made clear at Tuesday's State of the Schools address, it's that the district has come leaps and bounds since 2012.

Since 2012, graduation rates have increased by more than 20 percentage points.

Test scores have sky rocketed at Johnson High School, and a steady increase has been seen across the board.

Cyber security programs - now offered in every high school - have gained national recognition, and have even been featured on CBS Sunday Morning. This year, Project Lead the Way, a STEM education program program, was expanded into every school.

Amid praising these accomplishments, Superintendent Casey Wardynski took aim at critics of the state's College & Career Readiness Standards

"In my world there's nothing political about children. Children don't have political parties, they just have futures and we need to make sure they're bright," said WardynskI. "One way to do that is standards what the children need to know to be ready for the next grade, what do they need to know before they leave high school."

In the coming year the district will be doing even more to increase student opportunity.  School Board President Laurie McCaulley says the district is working on a partnership with UAH to offer a college academy magnet program. Students could get up to two years of college credit - and even a full four-year scholarship to UAH.  McCaulley believes will be great for first-generation college students and middle class families.