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Hicks resigns, successor pending

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HCHS grad rate is tops in class / October 10, 2013

Halifax County continues to make strides in raising its on-time graduation rate, besting the state average and outscoring neighboring school divisions in data released Tuesday by the Virginia Department of Education.

This year, 90.7 percent of Halifax County High School’s Class of 2013 graduated on time, a marked improvement from four years ago when the on-time graduation rate was 82.5 percent.

To arrive at the numbers, the DOE tracks high school seniors from ninth grade until the time of their graduation. The data released Tuesday picks up from 2009, when the graduating cohort entered high school as ninth graders.

“We are just so excited about our graduation rate,” said School Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon. “It was great news for us, especially since our rates were above the state average of 89.1 percent passage.”

All told, Halifax’s cohort completion rate was 95.6 percent in 2013, including students who graduated outside the four-year time frame.

The on-time graduation numbers improved across sub-groups: 92 percent of girls earned diplomas, compared to 89.2 percent of boys. The graduation rate for African-American students, 90.8 percent, was slightly higher than for whites, 90 percent.

174 students received Advanced Studies diplomas, and 188 earned standard diplomas. 18 other students with disabilities receiving special diplomas.

Halifax’s dropout rate was 4.3 percent.

Halifax and Campbell counties each posted significant gains from 2008, when the on-time graduation rate lagged in both counties. Halifax went from 82.5 percent to 90. 7 percent, and Campbell went from 78.5 percent to 88.2 percent.

Other adjoining counties — and the City of Danville — saw either small improvements, or none at all.

In 2013, Halifax’s on-time graduation rate exceeded that of Mecklenburg (88 percent), Pittsylvania (87.6 percent), Charlotte (86.3 percent) and Danville (78.6 percent).

Statewide, on-time graduation has increased by 7.8 points since 2008, the first year the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) reported graduation rates for the state, school divisions, and high schools based on student-level data that fully account for student mobility, promotion, and retention. During the same period, the on-time graduation for black students has risen 10.1 points and the rate for Hispanic students has risen by 12.1 points.

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