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Graduation rate on the rise

By NEESEY PAYNE
neesey@southwesttimes.com

Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) statistics show the number of seniors marching to “Pomp and Circumstance” is on the rise. Pulaski County Public Schools’ 2011 on-time high school graduation rate has increased nearly 2 percent. This year, 88.2 percent of students received their diploma on time, up from last year’s rate of 86.3 percent.
This percentage of students exceeds the state on-time graduation rate of 86.2 percent.
This is exciting news for Pulaski County and a testimony to the hard work of our teachers, counselors, principals, and support personnel across the district,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Becker said.
“Furthermore, since dropout prevention takes a community effort, we would like to thank our parents, elected officials, and the many community organizations who assist us with our efforts,” he said.
This year, the drop-out rate stood at 5.2 percent for the school division, a 2.3 percent decrease from 2010s figure of 7.5 percent. Out of the 407 students who graduated from PCHS this year, 125 received an advanced diploma and 189 students a standard diploma.
Statewide, Virginia’s on-time graduation rate rose nearly one percent from last year’s 85.7 percent while the dropout rate decreased nearly one percent from 2010s figure of 7.8 percent. The majority (55 percent) of students who graduated earned advanced studies diplomas.
“A one-point increase in the graduation rate means that nearly 1,000 more young Virginians are beginning their adult lives with the diploma they need to pursue further education and training or an entry-level job,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said.
She continued, “The progress our schools have made in raising graduation rates is due the efforts of hundreds of teachers, counselors, principals and other educators across the commonwealth who refused to give up on even the most challenging students.”
The VDOE states, “Of Virginia’s 329 high schools and schools with graduating classes, 192 achieved graduation rates higher than the state rate of 86.6 percent, two schools equaled the state rate and 135 were lower. Sixty-seven school divisions had graduation rates higher than the state’s, two divisions equaled the state rate, and 62 divisions had graduation rates that were lower.”
The 2011 on-time graduation rate illustrates the percentage of students who were first-time ninth graders during the 2007-2008 school year and earned a Board of Education-approved diploma within four years.
The VDOE first began reporting graduation rates for the state, school divisions and high schools in 2008. Since then, the Pulaski County on-time graduation rate has risen 11 percent.

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