Frederick County Public Schools’ On-Time Graduation Rate Continues to Climb

For Immediate Release
September 28, 2016
Contact: Steve Edwards, Coordinator of Policy and Communications
540-662-3889 ext. 88235

Frederick County Public Schools’ on-time graduation rate has increased for the sixth consecutive year. According to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), the on-time graduation rate for members of Frederick County Public Schools’ Class of 2016 was 93.5 percent compared to the 93.3 percent rate reported last year for the Class of 2015.

Schools Superintendent David Sovine says, “The school division’s success in increasing the number of students graduating within four years of entering ninth grade for the first time comes as a result of our staff’s commitment to helping students earn a high school diploma or other credential. When teachers, counselors, administrators and student support services staff work together to help meet individual student needs, students are able to achieve at high levels and overcome the obstacles that sometimes hinder them from graduating on time. Parent and community support also is critical as we work to prepare students to pursue a post-secondary education or enter the workforce.”

The school division’s on-time graduation rate has climbed steadily since it was first reported six years ago. The on-time graduation rate for the Class of 2011 was 84.8 percent. The rate for the Class of 2012 was 87.1 percent. The Class of 2013’s on-time graduate rate was 90.1 percent. The rate for the Class of 2014 was 90.3 percent.

Virginia’s on-time graduation rate for the Class of 2016 (students who entered the ninth grade for the first time during the 2012-13 school year) was 91.3 percent compared to 90.5 percent for the Class of 2015. The 2016 on-time graduation rate for James Wood High School was 93 percent (compared to 91.7 percent in 2015). The rate for Millbrook High School was 93.6 percent (compared to 94.6 percent in 2015). Sherando High School’s rate was 93.7 percent (compared to 93.6 percent in 2015).

The Virginia On-Time Graduation Rate is calculated by dividing the number of students in the cohort earning a Virginia Board of Education-approved diploma in 2016 (or earlier) by the number of students who entered the ninth grade for the first time in 2012-13 (plus transfers in minus transfers out). Unlike estimated graduation rates, the Virginia On-time Graduation Rate takes into consideration student mobility, changes in enrollment, and promotion and retention policies and decisions. The Virginia On-Time Graduation Rate also provides flexibility for students with disabilities and limited-English proficient students who are reported as “on-time” graduates regardless of when they earn a diploma. For example, a student with disabilities who entered the ninth grade for the first time in 2010-11 and graduated in June 2016 would be assigned to the 2012-13 ninth grade cohort and counted as an on-time graduate.

The VDOE has also released updated graduation data for students who entered the ninth grade for the first time in 2011-12. Frederick County’s five-year cohort graduation rate stands at 93.5 percent compared to the state’s five-year cohort graduation rate of 91.7 percent.

In addition to experiencing another increase in the on-time graduation rate this year, the dropout rate for the Frederick County Public Schools’ Class of 2016 declined to 2.6 percent compared to the 3.3 percent dropout rate reported for the 2015 cohort a year ago. The dropout rate represents all students in a particular cohort who have not graduated, completed a credential or have discontinued school. The state’s dropout rate for the 2016 cohort is 5.3 percent.

Sovine says, “While we are very pleased with the progress that’s been sustained over the past six years regarding the school division’s on-time graduation and dropout rates, we recognize there is always room for growth and improvement. Teachers are continuing their work to connect lessons to the real world and are helping students understand the importance of earning a high school diploma or other credential. In addition, supports are being provided to those students who may be at-risk of not completing high school so they can achieve at high levels and attain the credential they need to help them become successful, engaged citizens.”