NNPS graduation rate reaches all-time high, tops state average

Posted: October 8, 2019

More students in Newport News Public Schools are graduating on-time. The NNPS graduation rate remains at an all-time high with 94.8% of the class of 2019 graduating in four years.

The school division's on-time graduation rate has experienced a steady increase from 72.9% in 2008. During the same time period, the dropout rate decreased from 12% to 1.8%.

NNPS' on-time graduation rate is three percentage points higher than the state average of 91.5% and the NNPS dropout rate is lower than the state average of 5.6%. The overall student completion rate for NNPS, which includes students who have earned a diploma or a GED in four years, is 96.4%.

The NNPS class of 2019 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. Our success in these areas (on-time graduation and the dropout rate) is a testament to the value placed on every student in our school division."

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 2019 on-time graduation and dropout rates monitored the 2019 graduate class, who entered ninth-grade in the 2015-2016 school year. Twenty students in the cohort are still enrolled in the school division, giving them an opportunity to compete graduation requirements during the 2019-2020 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 fourth year, up from 96.3% in 2015.
  • Denbigh High School's graduation rate is 93.6%, up slightly from 93% in 2018 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 97.6%, up from 96.2% in 2018, and 73% in 2008.
  • Warwick High School's graduation rate is 92.2%, up from 88.3% in 2018 and 64.6% in 2008.
  • Woodside High School's graduation rate is 98.4%, up from 96.1% in 2018, and up over 15 percentage points when compared to 2008 (83%).

Dropout rates show steady decline

  • Denbigh High School's dropout rate dropped to 1.5% in 2019 from 1.9% in 2018 and 3.4% in 2016.
  • Heritage High School's dropout rate is 4.8%, an increase from 2.9% in 2018. Heritage's on-time graduation rate was 5.9% in 2016.
  • Menchville High School's dropout rate is .5, a decrease from 1% in 2018, and 2.3% in 2015.
  • The dropout rate for Warwick High School remained steady at 3.4%, when compared to 3.9% in 2018 and 3.6% four years ago.
  • Woodside High School's dropout rate is .2%, a decline from 1.3% in 2018 and 1.7% in 2015.

District Highlights:

  • NNPS' efforts to increase graduation rates resulted in averages higher than the state average in most 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.

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 2019 is Well Prepared

Students in the class of 2019 earned over $56.4 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 3,037 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: 1,947 high school students took 3,301 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.