July 26, 2006
Director of Communications
Public Information Officer
Board of Education President Mark E. Emblidge today named a special committee to research and recommend policies to reduce the number of students who drop out of high school and to improve graduation rates, especially among minority students. Vice President Ella P. Ward of Chesapeake and board member Andrew J. Rotherham of Earlysville will co-chair the committee. The board’s Committee on Dropouts and Graduation will:
- Examine policies and data related to middle-to-high school transition, ninth-grade retention, truancy, and dropout and graduation rates;
- Identify best practices to reduce ninth-grade retention and increase the percentage of students who complete high school by earning a diploma; and
- Recommend policies to incorporate the raising of graduation rates into the commonwealth’s accountability system.
“Most of Virginia’s high school students are meeting or exceeding the commonwealth’s diploma standards but we must redouble our efforts to address the issues that historically have caused students to dropout or complete high school without earning a diploma,” said Dr. Emblidge.
“Many Virginia schools are implementing programs to reduce ninth-grade retention and increase the likelihood that students will be successful and earn a diploma,” said Dr. Ward. “The committee will look at these programs and identify practices that should become part of the instructional and guidance programs of every high school in the commonwealth.”
“It's vital that Virginia get a handle on the best data we can to better understand the extent of our dropout problem and develop the best interventions we can to better serve our students,” said Mr. Rotherham.
In revising Virginia’s school accreditation standards this year, the Board added increasing graduation rates as an objective for high schools. In 2008, the commonwealth’s new education information management system will be able to calculate graduation rates for every school and school division based on longitudinal, student-level data using a formula recommended by the National Governors Association.