Valley schools yield high on-time graduation rates for 2019

STAUNTON, Va, (WHSV) — The Virginia Department of Education reports 91.5 percent of students in the class of 2019 graduated on time.

That number is up by more than 10 points in the last 10 years, since the department started collecting the data.

According to the report, more than half of Virginia high school grads received an advanced diploma, and of the 98,413 students in the class of 2019, only 5.6 percent dropped out.

Schools across the Shenandoah Valley have helped contribute to the state-wide success.

The schools in our area have an on-time graduation rate between 88 percent and 97 percent for the year, meaning these students finished high school in four years.

Augusta County: 92.8%
Staunton: 90.4%
Waynesboro: 88.9%
Rockingham County: 94.3%
Harrisonburg: 88.6%
Page County: 96.8%
Shenandoah County: 95.2%

All of the schools have seen increases in the rate compared to 10 years ago. Staunton City Schools saw the on-time rate jump 13 points from 2009.

They say setting these goals when students start school is an important first step.

"We're teaching them to learn and to think and to problem solve, which are skills we want them to transfer as they move into other life and career choices," Stephanie Haskins, Staunton City Schools Executive Director of Instruction, said.

Haskins said they place a focus on each individual student's needs to help them graduate, which is the ultimate goal, and they plan on seeing this trend continue for the class of 2020.

While graduating on time is a great success, Augusta County Schools say they understand that some students may take more time to finish school. They find success in achieving their goal of having a low dropout rate of 2.6 percent.

"Our teachers, counselors, coaches and families working together and being invested in educating the whole child. One of the areas Augusta County is focused on this year is really looking at the social and emotional needs of students," Tina Kiracofe, Augusta County Public School's Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Technology, said.

Kiracofe said she plans on the rate for the Augusta County school district staying in the high range of students graduating on time, thanks to the schools being able to show a variety of opportunities students can pursue after graduation.

You can find more information in the Virginia Department of Education's School Quality Profile reports.