High schools recognized for graduation rates

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WDTV)-- Nearly seventy West Virginia high schools were recognized for achieving exemplary graduation rates of 90 percent or greater during the 2016-17 school year. Schools were honored by representatives from First Lady Cathy Justice’s office, State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steven Paine and the West Virginia Board of Education.

“Graduation is an incredibly important step in creating a promising future for our students and the entire state,” said West Virginia First Lady, Cathy Justice. “Each student that graduates high school prepared for the rigors of college or the demands of the workforce strengthens the Mountain State, and the high schools being honored today should be proud of this incredible achievement.”

Recent data show more students in West Virginia are graduating from high school when compared to previous years. Several statewide initiatives contributed to the steady increase in the graduation rate. Most notably the creation of the state’s Early Warning System, which tracks 45 different indicators – the most important being attendance, behavior and grades – to identify students at risk of dropping out.

West Virginia’s graduation rate is one of the strongest in the country. Data released from the U.S. Department of Education placed West Virginia among the top states for graduation rates in 2015-16 (the national data lags behind the state-released data). The Mountain State’s graduation rate has continued to rise throughout the last several years. West Virginia also saw a significant increase in graduation rates for the 5-year cohort, moving from 87.4 percent in 2015-16 to 90.3 percent in 2016-17.

“Our state becomes stronger with each student that graduates high school college- and career-ready,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine. “The high schools here today are celebrated for the hard work of the principals, educators, counselors, students and parents who understand the important step graduation is in a child’s future. All schools in the Mountain State, along with the Department of Education and Board of Education, have made it a top priority to ensure our students show up, work hard, earn a diploma and are ready to meet the future workforce needs of West Virginia.”

Of the 68 schools recognized, three schools achieved a graduation rate of 100 percent. Those schools are Paw Paw High School, Pickens Elementary/High School and Paden City High School.

The schools celebrated in this event represent 58.6 percent of the 116 high schools in West Virginia. The overall graduation rate for all West Virginia high schools was 89.40 percent.

“Graduation is an important indicator of student success,” said Tom Campbell, West Virginia Board of Education President. “The Board understands that increasing our state’s graduation rate is a team effort and we applaud the supports our schools, principals, graduation coaches and communities provide to students. West Virginia is at the threshold of a very bright future, and we need to make sure that all students are graduating prepared to meet these demands head-on.”