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Rowan and Kannapolis dropout rates decline

School dropout rates are down for both the Rowan-Salisbury School System and Kannapolis City Schools, and Rowan-Salisbury’s three-year decrease is one of the largest in the state, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s “Consolidated Data Report” released earlier this month.
The state also saw a decline in dropouts – down to 11,049 from 13,488, a 18.1 percent decrease.
Chairman of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education Dr. Richard Miller said he’s pleased with these results.
“We will never be completely happy until we have a 0 percent dropout rate, but we are heading in the right direction. This further emphasizes why 20,000 students are worth our best efforts,” he said.
A total of 73 students dropped out of Rowan-Salisbury schools during the 2012-13 school year, a 60.5 percent decrease from last year’s 185 dropouts. The system has a 1.17 percent dropout rate, down from a 2.91 percent rate last school year.
The dropout rate is at its lowest point in the last 12 years. In fact, according to the report, the Rowan-Salisbury School System is in the top five counties that have seen the greatest change in their dropout rate over the past three years.
The system’s dropout rate is lower than the state’s rate of 2.45 percent.
School officials point to many new and existing programs the system offers as reasons for the district’s success, such as adding seven behavioral specialists, night school, remediation programs, Rowan County Early College, Henderson Independent School, Crosby Scholars and credit recovery programs.
“With history illustrating a downward trend in students dropping out of high school, this certainly indicates that the programs in place are working,” Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody said.
She added that keeping students from dropping out would be an aspect of the literacy focus in the system’s strategic plan.
Kannapolis City Schools experienced a 36.2 percent decline in dropouts between the 2011-12 and the 2012-13 school years. A total of 44 students dropped out during the 2012-14 school year, down from 69 the previous year. The system’s dropout rate for the 2012-13 school year was 2.98 percent, down from a 4.56 rate the year before.
We are proud and pleased of the dropout rate,” said Kevin Garay, principal of Kannapolis’ only high school, A.L. Brown.
Garay said the decrease was a “collaborative effort,” including adding new programs and activities to the school system.
“Students need identity,” he said, adding that the more opportunities a student has to connect to a program, the more likely they are to stay in school.
But, he acknowledges, they haven’t reached their goal yet.
“I want students staying in school to be an expectation, not a hope or a dream,” he said.

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