Overcoming significant obstacles, Osbourn High School has improved its graduation rates for the past three years, making sure that an increasing proportion of students exit high school with a diploma in their hands, according to state data.
The new Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) data, called the On-Time Graduation Rate (OGR), measures the number of students who entered the ninth-grade for the first time together and were scheduled to graduate four years later. Osbourn posted an OGR of 80.3 percent in 2012, well above the 77.2 percent that was recorded for the school in 2011; OGR for the 2,100-student high school in 2010 was 76.3 percent.
A lot of the credit for the upgrade goes to the Freshman Academy and its Coordinator Mike Dufrene, who works to help incoming ninth-graders understand the rigors they face in high school, said David Lyon, the district’s executive director of assessment and accountability. And, new Osbourn Principal John Werner has also been instrumental in reducing dropouts, Lyon said. Werner continually works with a special school team to identify at-risk students and give them the help they need to wear a cap and gown when they leave the school.
The report at a glance:
- Students identified as economically disadvantaged improved by a rate of 19 percent over the previous school year, posting an OGR of 60 percent.
- Hispanic students' OGR went from 64 percent to 69 percent.
- Black students improved their OGR going from 76 percent to 81 percent; White students' rate went from 76 percent to an 81 percent.
The high school has faced some hurdles this year. It is the only Manassas City school not fully accredited, receiving a VDOE warning over low math test scores and inadequate graduation rates. The measure used for accreditation – called the Graduate Completer Index – is different from the OGR. Both rates are valid, but just look at the student body a little differently.
Catherine Magouyrk, Manassas City Schools superintendent, acknowledged that more work had to be done.
"Manassas City Schools' first priority remains higher achievement for all students," Magouyrk said. "It is clear that the staff efforts at Osbourn are having positive effects on the students and while we celebrate these improvements, we know the job is not done. We will continue our quest to improve on-time graduation rates."