Grad Numbers, Dropout Rates Improve

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Despite the dreary financial weather for the Alexandria City Public Schools, newly released figures point to positive steps in the educational realm.

The Virginia Department of Education last week released statewide on-time graduation and dropout statistics for students who entered high school in 2005 and were expected to matriculate last June.

Overall, 77.8 percent of the 778 initial entrants into the ACPS class of 2009 graduated on schedule, representing a 1.2-percent increase upon last years numbers. The first set of comprehensive data compiled and released by the state regarding 2009 rates is still below the statewide mark of 83.2 percent, however.

The dropout rate improved last school year as well, falling to 10.2 percent from 11.1 percent a year ago, which was the second-highest dropout rate in Northern Virginia and 2.5 percent above the statewide total at the time.

Thats 100 students, Superintendent Morton Sherman said of the 2008 dropouts from T.C. Williams. This year that number is 79 so we did in fact reduce, but still, 79 is a lot of kids to lose over four years.

In four different subgroups white students, black students, students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students Alexandria schools surpassed the state average in terms of graduating on time. This included a 9-percent increase for students with disabilities and an 8-percent spike for economically disadvantaged students, according state-issued data.

ACPS also saw a 7-percent increase in the number of Hispanic students graduating on schedule 65.2 percent. The new figure lags behind the state average of 72.2 percent but is a insignificant improvement, officials said.

We will continue to dissect these numbers and look individually at students, what we can do well and how we can improve, Sherman said. Twenty kids, 30 kids in the right direction is a good base upon which to build.

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