NNPS graduation rate remains high, tops state average


Posted: October 4, 2018

More students in Newport News Public Schools are graduating on-time. The NNPS graduation rate remains at an all-time high with 93% of the class of 2018 graduating in four years.

The school division's 93% on-time graduation rate shows a steady increase from 72.9% in 2008. During the same period, the dropout rate decreased from 12% to 2.1%.

NNPS' on-time graduation rate is higher than the state average of 91.6% and the NNPS dropout rate is lower than the state average of 5.5%. The overall student completion rate, which includes students who have earned a diploma or a GED in four years, is 95.2%. The NNPS class of 2018 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 proud of our graduates and their success. Earning a high school diploma is an important milestone for young people; it prepares them for success whether they go to college, enter the military or join the workforce," said Dr. George Parker, superintendent of Newport News Public Schools. "By partnering with families, businesses and the community, we are providing the support that our students need to build successful futures."

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 2018 on-time graduation and dropout rates monitored the 2018 graduate class, who entered ninth-grade in the 2014-2015 school year. Twenty-five students in the cohort are still enrolled in the school division, giving them an opportunity to compete graduation requirements during the 2018-2019 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 have progressively increased

  • Achievable Dream High School's graduation rate is 100% for the third year, up from 96.3% in 2015.
  • Denbigh High School's graduation rate is 93%, up from 92.5% in 2017 and 69.5% in 2008.
  • Heritage High School's graduation rate is 88.8%, an increase of 15 percentage points when compared to 2008 (73.7%).
  • Menchville High School's graduation rate is 96.2%, up from 93.3% in 2017, and 73% in 2008.
  • Warwick High School's graduation rate is 88.3%, up from 64.6% in 2008.
  • Woodside High School's graduation rate is 96.1%, up from 95.7% in 2017, and up over 13 percentage points when compared to 2008 (83%).

Dropout rates show steady decline

  • Denbigh High School's dropout rate dropped to 1.9% in 2018 from 3.4% in 2016.
  • Heritage High School's dropout rate is 2.9%, down from 4.4% in 2017 and 5.9% in 2016.
  • Menchville High School's dropout rate is 1%, a decrease from 2.1% in 2017, and 2.3% in 2015.
  • The dropout rate for Warwick High School remained steady at 3.9%, when compared to 3.6% three years ago.
  • Woodside High School's dropout rate is 1.3%, a decline from 1.7% in 2015.


"‹" 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 average in many student subgroups (Black students, Hispanic students, 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.

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 2018 is Well Prepared

Students in the class of 2018 earned over $51 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. Sixty-seven percent of our graduates planned to attend a two or four-year college or university; six percent are pursuing careers in the military; and 17% planned to start their careers after high school.

Newport News students also earned over 3,400 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: 1,919 high school students took 3,206 AP courses, and with qualifying grades, students may earn college credit. Students were also active in their school communities, with over 85% 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.