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State reports that UCPS’ Dropout Rate drops to historic low

Central Academy graduates experiencing the thrill of Graduation, a feeling that all UCPS students should experience.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction recently presented the 2011-12 Consolidated Data Report to the State Board of Education. Among the data presented are the dropout rates for all 115 school districts in the state. Union County Public Schools Dropout Rate fell to 1.69, the lowest rate in the twenty-year history of the school system.

UCPS’ Dropout Rate is the lowest among the state’s largest school systems and the seventh lowest overall among all 115 school systems.

Earlier this year, UCPS received seven awards from State Superintendent June Atkinson for the system’s Cohort Graduation Rate. The system was recognized for being in the Top Ten Highest Systems for Cohort Graduation Rate, for having the Highest Cohort Graduation rate among large school systems, for having two schools with a 100 percent Cohort Graduation Rate (Central Academy and Marvin Ridge High), for having the school with the Highest Cohort Graduation Rate among schools with 100 to 199 students in the cohort (Central Academy) and for having the highest and second-highest Cohort Graduation Rate among schools with 300 to 399 students in the cohort (Marvin Ridge and Weddington High Schools.)

The just-released Dropout Rate is not the same as the Cohort Graduation Rate that UCPS was recognized for. According to the state news release, “The Cohort Graduation Rate follows a group of ninth graders across four years’ time and reports the percentage of these students who graduate four years after they begin high school. The Dropout Rate illustrates the number and percentage of students who drop out during one year’s time. Some of these students may return to school in the subsequent year and complete high school; others may drop out multiple times.”

Being recognized for both a Cohort Graduation Rate that is the highest in system history and now being recognized for having a Dropout Rate that is the lowest in system history illustrates the commitment of UCPS teachers and staff to meeting the individual needs of students.

In the release, Dr. June Atkinson, State Superintendent, shared, “High school students understand the connection between a diploma and the ability to reach their goals. Principals, teachers, and support staff should be praised for their efforts to ensure that students are staying on track to complete their education and achieve success after graduation.”

To address the number of students who were not graduating, the school system has placed “Student Support Counselors” in each of the high schools. These school counselors are charged with working with middle school and high school students who are at risk of dropping out due to falling behind academically, poor behavior choices or personal situations beyond their control. As these students move from middle school to high school, they have an advocate in the counselor who has been working with them and knows their needs.

UCPS also created a program for students who had failed to earn course credits on time and would continue a downward spiral toward dropping out of school unless someone intervened with an alternative. The Career Academy of South Providence (CASP) program was created to address the needs of these students. The CASP program allows a student to graduate by meeting the state requirement for the number of courses through specific, targeted credit recovery. Counselors help students access the resources they need to pass courses they may have failed two or three times.

Recognizing that pregnant or parenting students are also at increased risk of dropping out, the system sought out and received grant money to identify a staff member to specifically work with these students to keep them in school and on track. Additional pregnancy counselors are being hired through a grant from the Alliance for Children.

“As long as one student drops out of school, we will not be satisfied with our dropout rate. That child could be yours or mine,” commented Superintendent Mary Ellis. “I salute the teachers, counselors, principals, and support staff who make it their calling to work towards every child graduating from high school. Even when children do drop out of school, they are welcomed back if they can graduate within the state maximum age limit of 21 years old.”

Never before has the UCPS Dropout Rate been so low. Never before has it been so important that it keep dropping.

UCPS Dropout Rate (Source: NC Department of Public Instruction)

School Year Number  Rate      
2011-2012 201 1.69
2010-2011 233 2.02
2009-2010 231 2.04
2008-2009 329 3.01
2007-2008 357 3.4
2006-2007 315 3.15
2005-2006 389 4.09
2004-2005 322 3.68
2003-2004 283 3.53
2002-2003 330 4.41
2001-2002 327 4.75
2000-2001 296 2.93
1999-2000 344 3.63
1998-1999 325 3.62
1997-1998 213 2.5
1996-1997 191 2.33
1995-1996 208 2.59
1994-1995 260 3.28
1993-1994 245 3.17
1992-1993 251 3.3
1991-1992 259 3.53

Written by: Rob Jackson, Community Relations and Communications Liaison
Posted: Jan 15, 2013 by Rob Jackson

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