Graduation rates at area schools up

Virginia schools have passed the 90 percent threshold for high school students graduating on time, according to a Virginia Department of Education press release.

Schools in the Northern Shenandoah Valley continue to boast graduation rates higher than the state average.

Warren County
The gap in on-time graduation rates in Warren County high schools has shrunk, with Skyline High School’s rate rising from 89.7 percent last year to 91.3 this year. Warren County High School’s rate dropped from 97.6 percent to 93.7.

Although the drop at Warren County High School caused the overall county rate to drop from 93.5 to 92.4 percent, Superintendent Greg Drescher said keeping those numbers in the 90s is a marker of stability on the regional level.

“When you’re getting to the 90 percent plus on standards like this … that’s a very strong rate of success, so you’re just down to those few kids who you may need to develop a special program for,” he said.

He said the schools will continue to bolster those students through existing programs.

“We’re a little bit of a perfectionist in terms of we want all of our kids to graduate on time,” he said.

Shenandoah County
Shenandoah County Public Schools reached an on-time graduation rate of 95.9 percent for the class of 2015.

This rate is over 5 percent higher than the state average and a 6-point increase since 2010, said Superintendent Jeremy Raley.

Stonewall Jackson and Central high schools each saw an increase in their on-time graduation rate, Raley said.

Central High School saw a .06 percent increase from the previous year, said Central High School Principal Melissa Hensley.

“Our graduation rates illustrate a commitment to meeting the needs of all students through a deliberate and well-planned instructional and intervention process,” Hensley said.

Central’s 2014 graduation rate was 96.6 percent, compared to 97.2 percent this past June.

“Our commitment to excellence from our faculty, staff, students and families working is validated through our graduation rates as we prepare our students to be competitive in a global economy,” Hensley added.

Stonewall Jackson High School, which also saw an increase in its graduation rate, had a 98 percent graduation rate this past June, Principal Mike Dorman said. He noted that the school usually hovers in the mid-90s range.

“Our staff works really hard to build rapport with our kids and getting kids to work for them,” Dorman said, “I’m proud of our efforts.”

In addition to graduation rates, over half of the graduates in the county earned advanced studies diplomas, which is higher than the state average.

Raley said Shenandoah County is also outranking the state in dropout rates. The county had a 2 percent dropout rate, compared to the 5.2 percent state average.

School subgroups also saw high numbers of graduation rates. “Students in the subgroups of black, Hispanic, limited English-proficient and economically disadvantaged each earned a graduation rate of 90 percent or greater, while 100 percent of our students with disabilities earned a Virginia Board-approved diploma,” Raley said.

Frederick County

The percentage of on-time graduates in Frederick County jumped 3 points from 90.3 percent last year to 93.3 percent this year. Across the county, 10 students were held back for another year and 35 students dropped out over the course of the school year.

Sherando High School’s graduation rate recovered from a dip to 88.3 percent last year from the 2013 rate of 92 percent. This year, 93.6 percent of students graduated on time and almost two-thirds of those graduates received advanced studies diplomas.

In a news release, Superintendent David Sovine said that the schools are continuing to support at-risk students to keep raising the bar.

“The progress that’s been made in improving our on-time graduation rate over the past five years speaks to the dedication and commitment to our students that’s exhibited each day by our teachers, counselors, student support services staff and school administrators,” he stated.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 1176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com