ACPS graduation, dropout rates improve

ACPS graduation, dropout rates improve
T.C. Williams High School Class of 2021 graduates moved their tassels to the left side after accepting their diplomas. (Photo/ACPS)

By Olivia Anderson |

In 2021, Alexandria City Public Schools achieved its highest on-time graduation rate and lowest dropout rate since the Virginia Department of Education began reporting this data in 2008, according to a news release.

Specifically, ACPS reported a 9% increase in the on-time graduation rate, from 82% in 2020 to 91% in 2021 and a 9% decrease in the overall dropout rate, from 14% in 2020 to 5% in 2021, according to the release.

The 2021 graduation rates for ACPS student subgroups are 98% for white students, 95% for students with disabilities, 93% for Black students, 88% for economically disadvantaged students and 84% for Hispanic students.

Aside from students with disabilities, who experienced an increase in the dropout rate from 2% to 5%, dropout rates decreased across all subgroups. The dropout rate of English learners decreased from 24% to 9%; Hispanic students from 25% to 11%; and economically disadvantaged students from 17% to 7%. Black and white student groups saw all-time lows in dropout rates at 2% and 1%, respectively, according to the release.

Part of what ACPS attributes to these trends to the formation of its graduation task force. The group monitored the graduation status of all students and supported those who needed extra help by working with these students to develop plans that kept them on track.

ACPS also implemented a multitiered system of support as an “early intervention to prevent long-term academic failure,” according to the release. MTSS identified students in need and notified social workers, counselors and learning administrators who would subsequently provide support, according to the release.