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APS Graduation Rate Rises, Tops Virginia Average

On-time graduation rates (via Arlington Public Schools)The on-time graduation rate for Arlington Public Schools has continued to rise, topping Virginia’s average by more than 2 percent.

The class of 2015 had a 92.8 percent graduation rate, 0.8 percent higher than the previous year. The on-time graduation rate has increased 8.1 percent over the past six years, according to APS.

The rate is 2.3 percent higher than the state average of 90.5 percent, APS said.

“The increases in the on-time graduation rate and the proportions of graduates earning advanced diplomas is notable given the more strenuous requirements for earning a diploma in Virginia,” APS said in a press release.

Students receiving diplomas this year had to complete an economic and personal finance course, the first time Virginia had this requirement.

“The students who graduated in May and June began high school just as the commonwealth was introducing challenging, new assessments in mathematics, English and science,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Steven Staples said in a statement.

Rates of students graduating with advanced degrees (via Arlington Public Schools)

Of the students who graduated this year, 68.5 percent of them graduated with an advanced or International Baccalaureate diploma, 17 percent higher than the state average of 51.5 percent. The average number of students graduating with advanced or IB diplomas has also increased 7.3 percent over the past six years, from 61.2 percent in 2009.

“While I am pleased that our graduation rates have continued to rise, I am especially excited to see that more and more of our students also have challenged themselves to earn advanced or IB diplomas. This expands the options for their academic and personal pursuits after graduation,” said APS Superintendent Patrick Murphy.

While graduation and advanced diploma rates have increased, the number of students dropping out of school increased, as well. The rate jumped up from 3.8 percent in 2014 to 4.2 percent in 2015.

Although the rate increased, the dropout rate has decreased since 2009, when the rate was 11.9 percent. The rate is under the Virginia average of 5.2 percent.

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The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.

The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.

Former participants have this to say:

_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

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