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West Virginia Producing More High School Graduates

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December 02, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – More students in West Virginia are graduating from high school according to data released today by the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE). West Virginia saw an increase from 84.5 percent in 2013-14 to 86.5 percent in 2014-15 for the 4-year cohort. In addition, graduation rates of students in the 5-year cohort rose from 83.6 percent in 2013-14 to 84.7 percent in 2014-15.

This news comes on the heels of the release of a five-year strategic plan which outlines a goal of improving the graduation rate annually with an ultimate goal of 90 percent for all West Virginia students by 2020. State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Martirano outlined the plan recently to the State Board of Education.

“I applaud this success which is reflective of the work completed by our teachers, parents and students,” Martirano said. “Graduating from high school is critical now more than ever, and one our students must aspire to and take pride in. We must continue to ensure teaching and learning are designed and aligned to produce more high school graduates, because in my eyes one dropout is too many.”

The graduation rate in West Virginia has steadily increased throughout the last five years, increasing nearly 10 percentage points from 76.4 percent in 2009-10. The National Center for Education Statistics is expected to release final graduation rate data – including the nation’s newest graduation rate – in coming months. The nation posted the highest rate ever of 81 percent in 2012-13.

Several initiatives have contributed to the increased graduation rate. Among those, the establishment of an Early Warning System, which tracks 45 different indicators, including attendance, behavior and grades, to identify students at risk of dropping out as early as sixth grade. Principals, counselors and teachers are notified concerning which students are most at risk and in need of intervention.

“We’ve placed a focus on identifying which individual students are at risk of dropping out and empowering our schools and counties to provide interventions to those students,” Martirano said.

In addition, the state recently increased the dropout age from 16 to 17, and in 2011, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin provided innovation-zone funding for dropout prevention programs. Notably, West Virginia also requires 24 high school credits to graduate which is among the highest in the nation.

Mineral County saw the highest graduation rate in 2014-15 at 97 percent followed by Hardy County (95.9 percent), Ohio County (95.5 percent) and Jackson County (95 percent).

Individual district and school-level graduation data can be found by visiting the following link and clicking on “graduation:” http://zoomwv.k12.wv.us/Dashboard/portalHome.jsp

For additional information, contact Kristin Anderson at the WVDE Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or Kristin.Anderson@k12.wv.us.

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