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NN graduation rate increases, reaches record high

(09/28/2017) - Newport News Public Schools' on-time graduation rate has reached a record high: 93.4% of the class of 2017 graduated from high school according to data released on September 27, 2017 by the Virginia Department of Education.

The school division's on-time graduation rate of 93.4%, up from 72.9% in 2008. During the same period, the dropout rate decreased from 12% to 2.3% for the class of 2017. NNPS' dropout rate is lower than the state average of 5.8%. The overall student completion rate, which includes students who have earned a diploma or a GED in four years, is 95%. The NNPS class of 2017 increased its graduation and rate while taking more rigorous Standards of Learning tests designed by the Virginia Department of Education to better prepare students to meet national and international benchmarks for college and career readiness.

"We are very proud of the class of 2017 and their success. The completion of high school is an important milestone for young people and it opens doors for continued success," said Dr. Ashby Kilgore, superintendent of Newport News Public Schools. "The combined efforts of our students, families and staff are making a notable difference in Newport News." 

The on-time graduation rate monitors a cohort of high school students entering ninth-grade and assesses the graduation and dropout rates of these students four years later. The 2017 on-time graduation and dropout rates monitored the 2017 graduate class, who entered ninth-grade in the 2013-2014 school year. Two percent of the students in the cohort are still enrolled in the school division, giving them an opportunity to compete graduation requirements during the 2017-2018 school year.

More NNPS students are graduating in four years

By keeping the focus on college and career readiness, NNPS' graduation rate has steadily increased. In 2008, the on-time (four-year) graduation rate was 72.9% and the dropout rate was 12%; that same year, the school division established a national award-winning dropout prevention and recovery program. Newport News Public Schools has an array of programs and services to help students graduate on time including online courses; summer learning opportunities; community-based education; graduation coaches who identify, mentor and develop academic success plans for students; and an evening high school program. In addition, NNPS offers students more options to meet graduation requirements including online and college-credit courses.

Graduation rates at Newport News high schools increased

  • Achievable Dream High School's graduation rate is 100% for the second year, up from 96.3% in 2015.
  • Denbigh High School's graduation rate is 92.5%, up from 89.3% in 2016 and 69.5% in 2008.
  • Heritage High School's 2017 graduation rate is 89.6%, up from 88.2% in 2016 and an increase of 16 percentage points when compared to 2008 (73.7%).
  • Menchville High School's graduation rate is 93.3%, up from 90.7% in 2016, and 73% in 2008.
  • Warwick High School's graduation rate is 93.1%, up nearly two percentage points from last year (91.5%), and 64.6% in 2008.
  • Woodside High School's graduation rate is 95.7%, a one percentage point increase when compared to 94.4% in 2015, and up over 13 percentage points when compared to 2008 (83%).

Dropout rates show steady decline

  • Denbigh High School's dropout rate dropped to 1.4% in 2017 from 3.4% in 2016.
  • Heritage High School's dropout rate is 4.4%, down from 5.9% in 2016.
  • Menchville High School's dropout rate is 2.1% in 2017, down from 2.3% in 2015.
  • The dropout rate for Warwick High School decreased to 3.6% from 3.6% three years ago.
  • Woodside High School's dropout rate is 1%, a decline from 1.7% in 2015.

2017 NNPS Graduation and Completion Data

Number of Students in Cohort Graduated with an Advanced Diploma Graduated With a Standard Diploma On-Time Grad Rate Earned a GED Earned a Special Diploma Overall Completion Rate Dropouts
Number/ Percentage
ALL NNPS STUDENTS 1,873 790 897 93.4% 30 47 95% 43 2.3%
Achievable Dream 64 50 12 100% 0 0 100% 0 0%
Denbigh 280 83 183 92.5% 95.4% 1.4%
Heritage 318 109 156 89.6% 90.6% 14 4.4%
Menchville 388 184 171 93.3% 10 12 95.9% 2.1%
Warwick 335 131 154 93.1% 10 94.3% 12 3.6%
Woodside 488 233 221 95.7% 14 96.7% 1%

"<" indicates a group below the state definition for personally identifiable results

District Highlights:

  • NNPS' efforts to increase graduation rates resulted in averages higher than the state in all student subgroups (Black students, White students, Hispanic students, Students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students, English learners and homeless students).
  • The dropout rates for all NNPS student subgroups were lower than the state's average dropout rates for the same subgroups.
  • NNPS graduation rates continue to increase as students meet more rigorous state standards.

2017 NNPS Student Subgroup Graduation, Completion & Dropout Rates


On-time Graduation Rate Completion Rate Dropout Rate
All Students 93.4% 91.1% 95% 92.3% 2.3% 5.8%
Black Students 92.9% 88.4% 93.8% 89.6% 2.8% 6.8%
White Students 94.4% 94% 97.2% 95.2% 1.4% 3.4%
Hispanic Students 92.2% 81.1% 94.4% 82.1% 2.8% 16%
Students with Disabilities 89.7% 87.1% 91.7% 88.7% 6.9% 10.5%
Economically Disadvantaged 95.6% 86.5% 96% 88.2% 0.9% 8.5%
English Learners 87.8% 73.8% 87.8% 74.6% 7.3% 23.6%
Homeless 88.6% 74.2% 91.4% 76.4% 0% 19.4%


Numerous student options and graduation coaches ensure student success

NNPS students have numerous options to advance learning and exceed the state requirements for graduation. Dozens of required and elective classes are available online, afterschool and during the summer, giving students more flexibility.

Graduation coaches are assigned to each high school to identify, assist, encourage, and connect students at risk of not graduating with the options and resources they need to be successful. In addition, graduation coaches work with ninth-grade students to ensure a smooth transition to high school. Every student has an individualized success plan for graduation.

Graduation coaches assist in the successful transition of all students in Newport News Public Schools and provide early intervention services to support endangered students by:

  • Identifying seniors who have passed fewer than six Standards of Learning Tests and are endangered through absenteeism or behavioral issues
  • Identifying freshmen who need additional support during the school year and providing resources to assist them
  • Developing positive working relationships with faculty, staff, parents and community partners involved in the student's success
  • Analyzing data from standardized tests to help in planning alternative courses for endangered students
  • Maintaining and supervising tutorial programs designed to assist with the passing of SOL tests

The Class of 2017 is well prepared

Students in the class of 2017 earned over $42 million in awards and scholarships from universities, colleges and military institutions throughout the country. Nearly half of the graduates earned an Advanced Studies Diploma, which required an additional year of study in advance math, laboratory science and history/social science, and three years of study in a world language.

Newport News students also earned 3,261 career and industry certifications giving them access to advanced post-secondary opportunities, and high-skilled internships and careers. Through the Early College program, dual-enrollment initiatives, International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement and Honors courses, 85% of high school students were enrolled in rigorous coursework last school year. Newport News students have access to more Advanced Placement courses than any other school district or private school on the Peninsula. 2,022 high school students took 3,373 AP courses, with qualifying grades earning students important college credits. Students were also active in their school communities, with over 87% of all high school students participating in clubs, activities and sports, as part of the school division's Youth Development initiative.

Through innovative teaching and learning, high expectations, rigorous content and persistent support, students in Newport News Public Schools are moving beyond the minimum standards and are graduating college, career and citizen-ready.