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Lunenburg falls below state on-time grad rates

Lunenburg County students fell slightly behind the Virginia State average with an 88.6 percent on-time graduation rate, according to information released Sept. 29 by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). The Virginia State average on-time graduation rate in 2015 equaled out at 90.5 percent and Lunenburg students just barely missed the mark. However, Lunenburg topped the state dropout rate of 5.2 percent with a 6.7 percent. Finally, a total of 42 students graduated from Lunenburg with an advanced studies diploma, and 43 finished with a standard diploma.

“On-time graduation has increased by 9.2 points since 2008, the first year VDOE reported accurate graduation rates based on longitudinal student data fully accounting for student mobility, retention and other factors. During this same period, the state dropout rate fell to 5.2 percent, compared with 8.7 percent in 2008,” the VDOE said.

Graduates in Cumberland County’s Class of 2015 set the bar high last school year with a 91-percent on-time graduation rate,

According to the department, “nine out of 10 [Virginia] students who entered the ninth grade in 2011 earned a diploma within four years and more than half graduated from high school with an advanced studies diploma. …”

Students in Cumberland were no exception, slightly topping the state average. This year, a total of 62 students in Cumberland graduated with an advanced studies diploma and 38 finished with a standard diploma. Additionally, Cumberland County ranked highest among the localities of Buckingham, Prince Edward, Charlotte and Lunenburg.

The latest graduation data details outcomes for students who entered the ninth-grade for the first time together and were scheduled to graduate four years later, in this case, last spring.

The state average for students graduating in 2015 with an advanced diploma averaged out at 51.5 percent and 35.2 percent for students finishing with a standard diploma.

“We are proud that our graduation rate remains above 90 percent and that our students earning an advanced studies diploma continue to be above the state average,” said Cumberland County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Amy Griffin. “The Class of 2015 also consisted of 25 percent of our graduates earning an associate’s degree along with their advanced studies diploma in May 2015. I contribute this success to motivated students, dedicated staff and supportive and engaged parents and community members,” she said.

While Cumberland held the highest percentage of on-time graduations, their 8.1 percent dropout rate was the second highest of the counties in the region.

Only Prince Edward County Public Schools held a higher rate than Cumberland at 9.7 percent. Superintendent of Prince Edward County Public Schools Dr. David Smith said the division has implemented a student support team to assist students that may be in danger of failing or dropping out.

VDOE data indicated a graduation rate of 85.7 percent for Prince Edward County, falling slightly lower than Buckingham, Cumberland and Lunenburg.

Smith said the graduation rate has significantly increased over the past six years. A total of 54 students graduated from Prince Edward with an advanced studies diploma while 86 finished with a standard diploma.

Buckingham County Public Schools saw a competitive on-time graduation rate of 90.9 percent, just slightly higher than the state average. Buckingham also held the lowest dropout rate at only 3.9 percent. A total of 72 students from Buckingham graduated with an advanced studies diploma, while 62 finished with a standard diploma.

Comparatively, Charlotte County Public Schools ranked at the bottom of the five reviewed localities. Charlotte had an on-time graduation rate of only 84.8 percent and a dropout rate of 5.1 percent. However, Charlotte’s dropout rate was relatively low compared to rates of several neighboring counties.

“So many factors come into play that may influence a student’s ability to successfully graduate and the CCPS faculty and staff work diligently with students to help them to graduate,” Charlotte County Public Schools Superintendent Nancy Leonard said. “I am very proud of the efforts of our students, teachers, guidance counselors, administrators and parents who work together so well for our students to be successful. It’s a great team effort,” she said.

An astounding total of 89 students graduated from Charlotte with an advanced studies diploma and 56 graduated with a standard diploma.