Over 92% of Class of 2020 graduated on time in Virginia, says state superintendent



RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane announced Wednesday that even though COVID-19 closed down the schools in March, 92.3% of students graduated on time.

That’s more than nine out of ten students who entered the ninth grade during the 2016-2017 school year that earned a diploma and graduated from high school within four years. Of the 98,481 students in the Class of 2020 throughout the state, the dropout rate was 5.1%, which was down from last year. In 2019, 91.5% graduated with a drop out rate of 5.6%.

“My first priority after schools closed was to make sure that every student in the class of 2020 who was on track to earn a diploma was able to graduate on time,” Lane said.

“In addition to congratulating our 2020 graduates, I want to thank all of the educators and administrators who made full use of the flexibility provided under the emergency waivers I issued in the spring to ensure that students were not held back because being unable to take a Standards of Learning test or complete a required course.”

Data released by the state show graduation rates and dropout rates for major student racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups are as follows:

  • 98.1% of Asian students graduated and 1.2% dropped out;
  • 91.3% of Black students graduated and 5% dropped out;
  • 89% of economically disadvantaged students graduated and 6.8% dropped out;
  • 73% of English learners graduated and 25.5% dropped out;
  • 81.9% of Hispanic students graduated and 15.8% dropped out;
  • 90.4% of students with disabilities graduated and 7.6% dropped out;
  • 94.2% of students of multiple races graduated and 2.9% dropped out; and
  • 95.2% of white students graduated and 2.5% dropped out.

Newport News Public Schools (NNPS) also released information on its graduation rates which remained above average at 93.9% for the Class of 2020 with a dropout rate of 1.9%. The overall student completion rate, which includes students who have earned a diploma or a GED in four years, is 96.3%.

“The Class of 2020 is truly a testament to hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Our graduates finished strong; are college, career, and citizen-ready; and prepared for the next chapter in their lives,” said Dr. George Parker, superintendent of Newport News Public Schools.

The City of Hampton’s data shows that 96.2% of students earned their diplomas in four years. The dropout rate was also below the state average at 1.2% — the lowest dropout rate of the 15 school divisions that comprise Region II, which includes all of the school divisions in Hampton Roads from the Southside, Peninsula, and Eastern Shore.

Dr. Raymond Haynes, executive director of secondary schools, said, “Hampton City Schools continues on our journey toward serving our young people to achieve academic success. We believe in engaging students in real-world learning and providing a full range of supports for both academics and social-emotional learning.”

He continued, “The Academies of Hampton deliver innovative instruction through the lens of career pathways in order to prepare students to be college-, career-, and life-ready. We know that a high school diploma is integral to future achievements, and we will continue to work at all levels to support our young people as they acquire the knowledge, skills, and understandings outlined in Hampton’s Portrait of a Graduate. We are thankful for the support that our community continually provides to help make these opportunities available to our young people.”

Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) reached record levels for the 12th consecutive year with 94.2% graduating on time during the 2020 cohort year and the lowest recorded dropout rate of 2.9%.

“Even a global health pandemic cannot stop our division’s progress. Our educators and support staff are committed to meeting our students’ educational and social-emotional needs so they walk off that graduation stage fully prepared for college, the military or a career,” said VBCPS Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence.

“This continued improvement would not be possible without the additional support of our families, who became first-year teachers overnight when schools closed in the spring, and they managed it with grace and patience. Virginia Beach is truly a village devoted to its future citizens.”

High school cohort reports for schools, school divisions, and the Commonwealth are available for viewing and downloading on the VDOE website and on School Quality Profile reports under the “College and Career Readiness” tab.

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