DATE: September 29, 2016
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-972-4049

On-Time Graduation Rate for Albemarle County Seniors Is 95 Percent in 2016, With 70 Percent Earning Advanced Diplomas; Both Exceed State and National Rates

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – The on-time graduation rate for Albemarle County Public Schools’ 2015-16 senior class was 95 percent, again exceeding state and national averages, which were 91 and 82 percent, respectively. Albemarle County students continued to graduate at a higher on-time rate than the statewide average for every one of the nation’s 50 states.

Of the 1,044 diplomas earned by graduating seniors in the school division, 703, or 70 percent, were Advanced Studies Diplomas, which require a more rigorous course of study during the four high school years. This percentage for all students across the commonwealth was 51.7.

The school division’s drop-out rate slightly increased from 2.3 to 2.9 percent, but was nearly half the statewide average of 5.3 percent and less than half the national average of 6.5 percent.

“On-time graduation rates are the ultimate indicator of how well school divisions are meeting their primary goal, which is to prepare students for lifelong success. The knowledge and skills our students gain throughout their academic career and the devotion our staff and teachers have to increasing the engagement of students with their work are increasing the range of college and career choices available to our graduates,” said Dr. Matthew Haas, the school division’s deputy superintendent.

Also notable was the performance of students in three demographic groups compared to their colleagues across the state. The on-time graduation rate for African-American students was 93.3 percent in Albemarle County, while the statewide rate for African-American students was 88.3; for Hispanic students, it was 86.9 percent in the county and 82.8 percent statewide; and for students with disabilities, it was 97.2 in Albemarle County and 87.8 across Virginia.

Among individual schools, Western Albemarle High School students earned an on-time graduation rate of 99 percent, with a 0.3 percent drop-out rate. The on-time graduation rate for Albemarle High School students was 93.9, with a 3.4 percent drop-out rate; and Monticello High School students had an on-time graduation rate of 92.1 and a drop-out rate of 4.1.

Students at all three comprehensive high schools earned Advanced Studies Diplomas at a higher rate than the statewide average.

Virginia’s Superintendent for Instruction, Steven R. Staples, said, “An improving graduation rate is evidence of system-wide success in improving outcomes and providing support and guidance throughout students’ K-12 careers. Educators at every level can take pride in this success, especially given the commonwealth’s high expectations for learning.”

Recently, the Albemarle County School Board devoted a work session to High School 2022, a new program in the school division that is modernizing learning experiences for high school students. The program will track a new state initiative, Portrait of a Virginia Graduate, which seeks to blend content knowledge, career exploration, workplace skills and community engagement, and civic responsibility into high school studies.

Dr. Haas said the school division has begun a planning process that will involve the community later in the fall around the goal of improving the high school model to achieve the design principles of the new state graduation standards. Another goal, he said, will be to ensure a parity of programming among all of the division’s high schools.

Earlier this month, the school division also began offering students a new career and college planning resource, Naviance, an online program that enables students as early as the sixth grade to begin aligning their strengths and interests with high-potential career and college opportunities. The program will assist students in making course selections and seeking internships in high school that best match their post-graduate plans.

“All of these initiatives and the innovative work our teachers are doing every day in the classroom are focused on achieving our division’s one strategic goal—for all students to graduate having actively mastered the lifelong learning skills they need to succeed as 21st century learners, workers and citizens,” Dr. Haas added.

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