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Although the number of 2015 graduates was smaller than last year’s cohort, a state report shows graduation rates increased throughout the Historic Triangle.
The Virginia Department of Education released data on statewide, division- and school-level on-time graduation rates Sept. 29.
For Virginia, the “on-time” graduation rate is “the percentage of students in a cohort who earned a Board of Education-approved diploma within four years of entering high school for the first time,” according to the department’s website.
Williamsburg-James City County Schools graduated 851 students in 2015, 14 fewer students than last year. However, the school division’s on-time graduation rate in 2015 was 91.1 percent, .06 percentage points higher than it was in 2014.
Scott Thorpe, director of assessments, accountability and special programs for WJCC, said the increase is a testament to the school division’s “firm commitment” to graduating students on time.
“We really remain dedicated to students who require additional time and resources to fill those graduation requirements. It’s part of our mission,” Thorpe said.
Melissa Bentley, coordinator of the WJCC accountability and assessments division, said students meet with school counselors to develop a four-year graduation plan and follow up regularly to ensure they meet their goals.
“Even middle school counselors in eighth grade start to talk about and look at that plan as well,” Bentley said.
The York County School Division graduated 991 students in 2015, 37 fewer students than last year. But like its school division neighbor, York County’s on-time graduation rate increased, gaining .01 percentage points from last year. YCSD’s on-time graduation rate is 94.6 percent for 2015.
In an email to WYDaily, YCSD spokeswoman Katherine Goff said York County has implemented similar methods to WJCC to make sure students graduate in four years, which have enabled it to maintain a graduation rate above 94 percent for the past five years.
“In addition, some of our principals adjusted their school schedule to allow time for extra academic support, assigned students to our Virtual High School program, and even provided personal wake-up calls to encourage regular attendance,” Goff wrote.
The statewide on-time graduation rate in Virginia for 2015 was 90.5 percent, an increase of .06 percentage points from 2014.