Franklin City Public Schools — Successful!

Published 6:43 pm Friday, December 6, 2019

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


The Virginia Department of Education in Richmond accumulates and reports a tremendous amount of data on the 133 school divisions across the state. My thoughts are that two of the most meaningful statistics relate to dropout and high school graduation rates.

The simple fact is that students who stay in school and are attentive in class learn. A school system that has a high percentage of dropouts is not serving those students and the larger community it as a whole.

Franklin High School’s dropout rate of 1.3 percent is over four times better than the state average of 5.6 percent. It represents as the sixth lowest in the state. In fact, it is far better than the three closest school divisions.

The main goal of a school division is to graduate students by guiding them through academic programs that prepare them to pass the numerous state-mandated SOL (Standards of Learning) tests. Franklin High School’s graduation rate is 97.4 percent compared to the state average of 91.5 percent. This rate is the 12th highest in the state. Again, it is better than the three closest school divisions.

There is a remarkable transformation that occurs as students enter S.P. Morton Elementary School, progress through carefully redesigned offerings at J.P. King Jr. Middle School, and finish their kindergarten through grade 12 program at Franklin High School.

How does a school system with one of the highest poverty rates in Virginia (all students are receiving free breakfast and lunch) achieve these degrees of success? The classroom teachers are doing a phenomenal job in their classrooms, students and parents are excited as opportunities for success become clear, the central administration has made certain that programs are aligned with state expectations, and funding from city council has been strong.

Can Franklin schools do better? Of course, but these successes are just the beginning. In the next few months more information will mention collaborative programs in the works with Camp and Tidewater Community Colleges, Virginia Tech and the Franklin Police Department.

These are truly exciting times!

Robert N. Holt


Franklin Schools Peer Comparisons for 2019-20

Division: Graduation Rate; Dropout; Disadvantaged

Virginia: 91.5; 5.6; 40.4

Franklin: 97.4; 1.3; 63.0

Southampton: 90.4; 6.8; 46.7

Isle of Wight: 92.8; 4.4; 27.9

Suffolk: 90.3; 4.3; 48.7


Graduation rate – Percent of students graduating on-time

Dropout rate – Percent of students who leave the school division without graduating

Disadvantaged student – One that has family on federal assistance

FHS graduation rate 12th highest of 133 Va. School divisions

FHS dropout rate is 6th lowest of 133 Va. School divisions

Source: Virginia Department of Education, October 2019