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T.C. Williams Shows Strong Improvement in Graduation Rates

City's public high school shows good progress in all categories except for special education students, a category showing a drop from 2011.

T.C. Williams Shows Strong Improvement in Graduation Rates

T.C. Williams High School showed strong improvement in on-time graduation rates from 2011 to 2012 in almost every category except for students who receive special education services, which showed a decline.

Additionally, the data show an approximately 3 percent decline in the school’s dropout rate, according to the Virginia Department of Education. It was 11.9 percent in 2012 and 15 percent in 2011.

“This accomplishment shows the rigorous programs we have instituted within the division are working,” Alexandria City Public Schools Superintendent Morton Sherman said in a statement. "We’re certainly moving in the right direction, and we’re confident that our improvements will continue to benefit our students.”

The VDOE publishes annual state-level, division-level and school-level cohort reports detailing outcomes for students who entered the 9th grade for the first time together and were scheduled to graduate four years later.

Statewide, Virginia saw an 88 percent 2012 high school graduation rate. The VDOE credits the overall improvements around the state to school districts’ ability to identify students in danger of falling behind or dropping out and to local efforts to get students the help they need.

T.C. Williams High School, the state’s largest public school for 9th through 12th graders, showed a 2012 graduation rate of 81.9 percent compared to 79.2 percent in 2011.

That means that more than eight out of every 10 students who started at T.C. Wiliams in fall 2008 earned a diploma in 2012.

Among black students, the rate improved from 79.5 percent to 81.7 percent. Among Hispanic students, the rate increased from 67.3 percent to 69.9 percent.

While those rates improved, those categories are still behind their white and Asian counterparts. In 2012, 92.5 percent of white students graduated on-time and an impressive 98.3 percent of Asian students.

Students who receive special education services experienced a decrease in graduation rate from 76.9 in 2011 to 72 percent in 2012.

“That decline is being closely examined,” according to an ACPS news release.

Female students showed an 86.4 percent graduation rate in 2012 compared to only 77.3 percent for boys.

Students eligible for free and reduced-price meals, or considered “economically disadvantaged,” had an increase in graduation rates, from 77.4 percent in 2011 to 80.7 percent in 2012.

The most dramatic improvement came among students with limited English proficiency, or English Language Learners. In 2011, ELL students graduated at a rate of 72.3 percent and in 2012, 79.7 percent, which bested the state’s overall ELL graduation rate of 74.1 percent.

School Board Chairman Sheryl Gorsuch called the new data "outstanding news for ACPS and the City of Alexandria."

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