NNPS graduation rate remains high, tops state average

Posted: October 1, 2020

Newport News Public Schools' graduation rate remains high with 93.9% of the Class of 2020 graduating in four years. The school division's on-time graduation rate has increased significantly from 72.9% in 2008. During the same period, the dropout rate decreased from 12% to 1.9%.

The Class of 2020 faced the unexpected closure of schools and successfully adapted to virtual learning to complete their graduation requirements. NNPS' on-time graduation rate is higher than the state average of 92.3% and the NNPS dropout rate is lower than the state average of 5.1%. 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 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 2020 on-time graduation and dropout rates monitored students who entered ninth grade in the 2016-2017 school year. Nineteen students in the cohort are still enrolled in the school division, giving them an opportunity to complete graduation requirements during the 2020-2021 school year.

More NNPS students are graduating in four years

By keeping the focus on college and career readiness, NNPS' graduation rate has consistently increased and remained above the state average. 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 fifth straight year, up from 96.3% in 2015.
  • Denbigh High School's graduation rate is 90.1%, up from 69.5% in 2008.
  • Heritage High School's graduation rate is 90.6%, up from 88.8% in 2019.
  • Menchville High School's graduation rate is 97.1%, up from 73% in 2008.
  • Warwick High School's graduation rate is 93.7%, up from 92.2% in 2019.
  • Woodside High School's graduation rate is 96.1%, up over 13 percentage points when compared to 2008 (83%).

Dropout rates show steady decline

  • Denbigh High School's dropout rate is 4.5%.
  • Heritage High School's dropout rate is 3%, down from 4.8% in 2019.
  • Menchville High School's dropout rate is 0%, a decrease from 0.5% in 2019.
  • The dropout rate for Warwick High School dropped to 1.4%, a decrease from 3.4% in 2019.
  • Woodside High School's dropout rate is 1.2%, a decline from 1.3% in 2018.

District Highlights:

  • NNPS' efforts to increase graduation rates resulted in averages higher than the state average in many student subgroups (Black students, Hispanic students, Asian students, white students, economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, English learners and homeless students).

  • The dropout rates for many NNPS student subgroups were lower than the state's average dropout rates for the same subgroups.

  • NNPS graduation rates continue to remain above the state average.

Numerous Student Options, Graduation Coaches and Attendance Officers 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 and attendance officers 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.

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

Attendance Officers are a valuable part of the support team who encourages students to attend school every day:

  • Identifying students who miss school and preparing resources to ensure daily attendance
  • Locating and connecting with students who have dropped out of school and creating a plan to ensure they re-enroll and receive the supports they need to graduate on time
  • Working with families and community partners to remove barriers for non-attendance