Edmonton Public School Board chair Sarah Hoffman

Edmonton Public School Board chair Sarah Hoffman and superintendent Darrel Robertson, meet with media Wednesday. (Lydia Neufeld/CBC News)

The graduation rate among Edmonton Public High School students remains below the provincial average, despite improvement over the last few years.

Students who drop out between junior high and high school are especially worrisome, said board chair Sarah Hoffman.

The first semester of Grade 10 is critical, she said.

"We're focusing lots of energy on making sure kids are ready for that transition, that staff are on top of them, and that we're helping them along the way, because we don't want to see any kids fall through the cracks."

There is no trend across the district as to why kids are leaving high school. While the number of students graduating is slowly increasing, one in four still don't finish.

With files from CBC's Lydia Neufeld