by Tori Hamby
Dropouts at North Mecklenburg High School fell by more than half during the 2009-10 school year, according to data released last month by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
The department’s consolidated report, which annually releases statistics on school crime, violence, suspensions, expulsions and dropouts, stated that North Meck’s dropout rate fell from 77 students in the 2008-09 school year to 35 students last year.
The school’s dropout rate has been steadily decreasing since the 2006-07 school year, when the number of dropouts reached a 10-year high of 160 students.
Hopewell High School saw a notable decrease in dropouts between the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years, as well. The school’s dropout tally fell from 122 to 96 students.
Dropout data for Hough High School was unavailable since the school is in its first year of operation.
High school dropout rates also dropped across the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district and North Carolina. Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s rate decreased from 4.99 percent in 2008-09 to 4.15 percent, while last year’s state-wide dropout rate fell to 3.75 percent, down from 4.27 percent the year before. A total of 16,804 high school students dropped out last year, as compared to 19,184 students in 2008-09.
“Educators across the state have focused on keeping students in class and on track to graduation, and their hard work is paying off,” State Superintendent June Atkinson said in a release.
The Department of Public Instruction defines a dropout as a student who leaves school for any reason before graduation or completion of a program of studies without transferring to another school. Schools that cannot prove that a student has enrolled in another school following their departure must report that student as a dropout.
“Every student who stays in school to graduate is one more student who leave high school college- or career-ready,” State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison said. “This is good news for students and their communities.”