Henrico Schools addressing decline in graduation rates

Henrico Schools’ high school drop out rates are ringing higher than the state average.
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 5:48 PM EST
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Henrico school leaders say their high school students are dropping out at a higher rate than usual, but they’re doing what they can to address the problem.

Henrico Schools’ high school dropout rates are ringing higher than the state average.

According to data presented at a Henrico School Board meeting on Oct. 13, the high school dropout rate across the school division has increased from 5.3% in 2018 to 7.5% in 2022, whereas the state’s rate has gone from 5.5% to 5.2% during that same period.

Henrico Public Schools’ Director of High School Education Thomas Ferrell Jr. says among these declining graduation rates, English language learners are impacted the most, many of whom are Hispanic.

“Whenever we have a population of students who aren’t being a success is a concern for us in Henrico County,” he said. “We noticed that there’s some language and engagement barriers with our multi-language learners. Additionally, many of these students face challenges of being economically disadvantaged.”

Ferrell says they’re working to implement strategies to ease the numbers.

“By expanding our communication in more languages, and also with mentorship, flexible scheduling and teacher training to certain cultures.”

He says the division is also piloting a new program that’s already been established at Tucker High School, designed to help acclimate students who are falling behind.

“In addition to your normal classroom instruction that all students receive, these students will have a designated school counselor who will work with them on social, emotional support as well as other forms of instruction,” Ferrell said.

Ferrell says this program is only available to students enrolled at Tucker High School for now, but they plan to expand it in the future.

He says concerned parents can reach out to the school district if they need resources.