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The on-time graduation rate for Fairfax County high school students increased to 92 percent for the most recent graduating class, a 0.7 point improvement over last year’s class, according to numbers released by the Virginia Department of Education.

Fairfax County, the largest school district in the state, achieved a graduation rate for the class of 2013 that beat the statewide average by almost three percentage points. The on-time graduation data measures the number of public high school students who entered ninth grade in fall 2009 and graduated within four years.

“I just want to congratulate all of our folks at the campus level who work with our students: our campus leaders, our teachers, our counselors, social workers. I could go on and on and on,” Superintendent Karen Garza said at a School Board meeting on Oct. 10. “So many people contributed to this, and I’m very proud.”

Black students in Fairfax County outperformed their state counterparts, their graduation rate of 88.3 percent in 2013 more than four points higher than the state average.

However, the county’s Hispanic students lagged behind the average for Hispanic students across Virginia, with an on-time graduation rate of 81 percent compared to an 83.3 percent statewide average. While the dropout levels for Hispanic students lowered almost four percentage points, to 14.9 percent, this county mark would need to decrease three more points to approach the state average.

Across Fairfax County public high schools, Madison High School had the highest on-time graduation rate, at 98.2 percent, while Falls Church high school had the lowest, at 85.6 percent. Magnet school Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology had a perfect 100 percent.

Garza kicks off listening tour

Karen Garza, the superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools, plans to conduct a listening tour and visit the nine school districts in the county to connect with the public. Attendees will have the chance to voice concerns and ask questions. The superintendent will also come armed with questions of her own that she will put to citizens to help her develop a strategic plan for the school system.

The first six dates were announced. The first, at Whitman Middle School in Alexandria, took place on Tuesday. The next five are: Oct. 28, at Sunrise Valley Elementary School in Reston; Nov. 6, at Stuart High School in Falls Church; Nov. 9, at Kilmer Middle School in Vienna; Nov. 25, at Rocky Run Middle School in Chantilly; and Dec. 7, at Cooper Middle School in McLean.

The three remaining dates will be announced in early January.

Those planning to attend are requested to register online at www.fcps.edu/news/listeningtour. If you are unable to attend, you can also share your thoughts with Garza in an online forum at fcps.uservoice.com/forums.