IW near top in graduation rates

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2017

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Isle of Wight County has one of the highest on-time graduation rates in the Hampton Roads region, according to the Virginia Department of Education.

The division’s rate of 93.8 percent of on-time graduates exceeds the state average of 91.1 percent and trails only York and Poquoson in the region, according to Isle of Wight County schools.

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At Windsor High School, 96.6 percent of the class of 2017 earned a Board of Education approved diploma, and 92.7 percent from Smithfield’s most recent graduating class earned the same.

The graduation rate for all IWCS subgroups, including economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities and black students, also exceeded the state average for each subgroup. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

 “I am very proud of the continued success of our division,” said Division Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton. 

“The data supports our mission of preparing all of our students to be college, career and life ready,” he said.

For the class of 2017, the drop-out rate was 3.4 percent, an improvement over the previous year’s rate of 4.1 percent.

Both high schools were below the state’s dropout rate of 5.8 percent.  Smithfield was at 4.0 percent while Windsor posted a 1.7 percent rate.

Those rates fluctuate from year to year because a class is followed for four years, said Schools spokesperson Lynn Briggs.

In 2015, Smithfield had a drop-out rate of 1.9 percent while Windsor was 4.07 percent, she said.

“Plus, any students who get a GED would be factored into the drop out rate, since they did not earn a state-recognized diploma,” Briggs said.

“We will be looking at the data to see the reasons those students listed as drop-outs for this cohort did not earn a high school diploma.  Then we can determine if there are additional supports we can put in place to help ensure students who enter 9th grade will receive their diploma in four years,” she said.

Thornton is pleased with the data.

“Our low dropout rate, paired with our high graduation rate, is a result of the expectations we have for educational excellence,” added Dr. Thornton.  “This information validates the attention we give to each of our students to ensure they will be successful citizens once they leave our doors.”  {/mprestriction}