The high school dropout rate for Newberry County has decreased overall for three consecutive school years.
The years are for the 2007-08 year through the 2009-10 year.
While the high school dropout rate has decreased for the county, it has also decreased for the state overall as well.
However, while the county’s high school dropout rate has had a three-year consecutive decrease, enrollment has also decreased.
High school enrollment for grades 9 through 12 has gone from 1,672 in 2007-08 to 1,599 in 2010-11. There was a slight increase from 2009-10 with 1,578 to the 2010-11 year.
In comparison, the overall dropout rate for grades nine through 12 went from 77 in 2007-08 to 30 in 2010-11.
The decrease is seen in males, females, whites and non-whites for the entire county.
Newberry schools do what they can to provide assistance for students.
Newberry County Superintendent Bennie Bennett says, “We continue to try and be proactive by providing opportunities for credit recovery, acceleration when appropriate. We provide support through counseling services as well as open communication with students and parents.”
Dr. Lynn Cary, director of middle/secondary education elaborates by explaining what schools offer.
“In addition to providing opportunities to students to recover credit or accelerate if they are behind, our high schools also use virtual courses through the state Department of Education to provide courses required for graduation that may not otherwise fit into a student’s schedule,” she says, “On the other end of the spectrum, our high schools are implementing programs such as the Freshman Academy at NHS (Newberry High) and Link Crew at MCHS (Mid-Carolina High) to help ease the transition from middle to high school, which has resulted in a decreased failure rate for ninth graders. Research shows that if students earn at least six units as first-year ninth graders, they are more likely to stay in school and graduate on time.”
Cary goes onto explain what is offered before high school to help students stay in school.
“At the middle school level, students who may otherwise be retained are given a chance to catch up over the summer in our GAP program, which means they will stay on track for graduation. This option also exists at the high school level through the extended semester program,” says Cary.
A dropout is defined as a students who leaves school for any reason other than death before graduating or completing a program and does not transfer to another school or institution.
Decreasing the drop out rate among high school students coincides with on-time high school graduation rates, according to S.C. Superintendent Mick Zais.
Zaid adds, “There is no silver bullet to magically improve high school graduation rates, but by focusing on providing every student a personalized and customized education, we can and will make progress.”
The largest decrease happened with the economically disadvantaged students. Across the state for the 2010-11 year, 341 less students dropped out than in the previous year.