Dropout rates decline in city, county

Apr. 18, 2014 @ 11:36 AM

Dropout rates in the Thomasville City and Davidson County Schools systems continue a downward trend.
According to statistics released earlier this month by the Department of Public Instruction, Thomasville City Schools in 2012-13 had a dropout rate of 3.3 percent, marking the third consecutive year of decline. Davidson County Schools reported a 1.5 percent dropout rate for its sixth straight rate decrease.
“Certainly we're pleased that the number has gone down but we want it to go down even more,” TCS Superintendent Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin said. “What we have done over the last eight months is look very closely at data to determine why a student has left us.”
During the 2012-13 school year, TCS had 37 students drop out, which is down from 40 the previous year. The dropout rate, however, still is above the state average of 2.45 percent.
A big push in the school system is identifying where students go when they leave TCS. Sometimes, a student simply moves to another school system or out of state, but does not provide the documentation, which results in the student being considered a dropout.
Finding out where these students go, Pitre-Martin said, should further decrease the dropout rate.
“Being able to have that type of data helps you clarify whether a student is a dropout or not,” said Pitre-Martin. “We started a thorough review process of looking at data and looking at each child individually. Knowing where the students go when they leave here is critically important. That's going to be a big part of our work is to show we know exactly where they go off to.”
To lessen the number of students who do drop out, Pitre-Martin feels it's imperative to keep them engaged and prepared for life after high school.
“We're working hard to make sure our students are taking classes that really motivate them,” Pitre-Martin said. “We're also looking at more dual enrollment opportunities so that if students want to go over to the community college they can start taking courses that lead to a career while they're in high school. I think that motivates them to stay because they're working on a career goal while they're also working toward their high school diploma.”
In Davidson County Schools,  the 2.25 percent dropout rate ranked 43rd out of 115 school systems across the state. DCS reported 145 dropouts last year, which is a considerable decline from 2007-08 when the system had 410 dropouts. East Davidson High School and Ledford High School had 27 and 24 dropouts, respectively.
“This rank continues a positive trend from our 59th ranking in 2010-11,” said Superintendent Dr. Lory Morrow. “We are very pleased with the progress we are making in reducing our dropout rate. This can be attributed to the hard work, dedication and collaboration of students, parents, teachers and administrators.”

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.com.