BOE hears presentation on dropout rates

Feb. 13, 2013 @ 06:01 AM

Renee Collins, director of secondary education for Rutherford County Schools, presented information about the county’s dropout rate to the board of education during their regular meeting on Tuesday.

The dropout rate information was released by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction last month. The information shows that Rutherford County Schools saw a decrease in their dropout rate, which went from 4.91 percent for the 2010-11 school year to 4.22 percent for 2011-12. A total of 136 students dropped out of school during the 2010-11 school year and 121 during the 2011-12 year.

“It is difficult to identify what factors exactly contributed to the decrease in the numbers, but we hope to continue to decrease the numbers and percentages,” Collins said. “We now have three graduation coaches who are trying to develop district-wide practices to keep the students in school.”

Graduation Coaches Jennifer Elliot and Jeff Sappenfield were present at the meeting to discuss some of their tactics for keeping students in school which include identifying at-risk students and working with them and their families to create a graduation plan that best fits their needs.

Collins says that they are positive about the numbers for the 2012-13 school year. From the beginning of school until December, they have only seen 25 students drop out. However, they still have a goal to get their numbers down below the overall state rates, which were 3.43 percent for 2010-11 and 3.01 percent for 2011-12.

“I am so glad that Rutherford County Schools has put us in this position. We can focus on at-risk kids and reach them,” Sappenfield said. “We want to get that dropout rate below the state level. That is our goal.”

The board also approved the 2013-14 RCS and Rutherford County Early College High School (REaCH) calendars.

At the end of the meeting Superintendent Janet Mason gave her report, reminding everyone that State Superintendent June Atkinson will be visiting on Thursday to recognize the district as a North Carolina Innovator in Digital Learning.

“This is a big week for Rutherford County Schools. It is an honor to host June Atkinson. We are very excited about having her in our district,” Mason said. “It is an honor to have her join us and highlight the good things happening here.”

The next meeting will be Tuesday, March 5 at 7 p.m. in the board room at Cool Springs Administrative Offices.