Patrick County High School posted one of the best graduation rates in the state, based on figures released Tuesday by the Virginia Department of Education.
Students at Henry County’s two high schools and Martinsville High School trailed the state average of 91.5 % for on-time graduation in the Class of 2019, the data showed.
But Patrick County graduated 95.6% of the students who entered the ninth grade in the 2015-16 school year.
Only 16 school divisions performed better than Patrick County. Floyd County graduated 98.7% of its students, and Highland County reported a 100% rate, but that counted only 14 students.
The combined rates for Bassett and Magna Vista High Schools were at 89.8% for on-time graduation at Henry County Public Schools. Martinsville High School reached 90%.
Statewide more than half of those graduating (51.5%) received an advanced diploma, VDOE reported.
HCPS in a release touted a “notable improvement in achievement” by African-American students, whose 92.8% rate surpassed the district and the state averages.
“We are so proud of each of our graduates and the great things they are going out into the world to do,” HCPS Superintendent Sandy Strayer said in that release. “Our goal is to continue to facilitate the most appropriate path to a successful future for each student based on his/her needs so that every student who leaves Henry County Public Schools is college, career and citizenship ready.”
Four in 10 graduating seniors earned an Advanced Studies diploma, but 6.5% dropped out, a higher rate than statewide.
Martinsville High School saw slightly more than 4 in 10 students earned advanced-studies diplomas, but the dropout rate was 7.3%. The performance by female students was strong, with 95.5% graduating.
MCPS Superintendent Zebedee Talley Jr. touted the division’s 87.2% for Level 1 and said that it has “remained consistent for the past several years.”
“Although this indicator is Level 1, we realize that we must work actively to increase the number of students who not only graduate but graduate with advanced diplomas,” Talley said in an email. “This is essential for our students to be college and career ready, to provide a skilled workforce for our local businesses, and to empower our students for successful futures.”
At Patrick County HS, more than 4.5 in 10 graduates received advance diplomas, but only 3.3% dropped out. Slightly more females than males (96.9-94.1) graduated.
Acting Superintendent David Martin said that the graduation rate is "just one more indication to the school division, community, and more importantly the staff and students, that hard work in a positive school culture can yield remarkable results.
"As the acting school superintendent, I have realized this graduation rate is not just indicative of a high school staff meeting the needs of students in grades 8-12, but is more reflective of the work that began in kindergarten and continues throughout the grades. It is a team effort for each grade to prepare the students for the next grade and school year.
"This graduation rate is public acknowledgement to all faculty, staff, parents, and community of a job well done."
The DOE’s report said that 98,413 students are included in the Class of 2019, and the dropout rate was 5.6%, which was slightly higher than in 2018.
“Virginia’s on-time graduation rate has risen by more than 10 points in the decade since the department began reporting graduation rates that account for every student who enters the ninth grade,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said in a release. “I believe this long-term, upward trend will continue as school divisions and the commonwealth adopt equitable policies and practices that provide instructional and support services tailored to the unique needs of every learner.”