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Drop-outs down in Brunswick County and across state

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By Kathryn Jacewicz, Staff writer

High school dropout rates for the 2007-2008 school year are down in Brunswick County as well as across the state.

Brunswick County Schools reported 197 dropouts during the 2007-2008 school year, which is down 16 students from 2006-2007—a 7.51 percent decrease.

Of those 197 students, 121 were male and 76 female. One hundred forty-six were white, 35 black, three American Indian, seven Hispanic and six of other ethnicities.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) reported there are about 450,000 high school students, 22,434 of which dropped out. This amount is down 1,116 fewer students than the 2006-2007 school year—a 4.97 percent decrease. This is the first decrease in North Carolina dropout rates since the 2004-2005 school year.

“This is good news for North Carolina,” June Atkinson, state superintendent, said in a press release. “Local schools are using all of the tools available to help students stay in school.”

The annual dropout report said attendance issues accounted for 48 percent of dropouts. Several schools in the county continue to be proactive in increasing their own attendance rates.

Brunswick County Academy had the lowest attendance of all Brunswick County Schools last year, and students in the 8th Grade Transition Academy missed a combined 1,800 days last year.

BCA Principal Sandra Robinson and Transition Academy Principal Faye Lloyd now reward perfect attendance and have found a way to make their students want to come to school every day.

The two schools began giving students ice cream or candy rewards for one week’s worth of perfect attendance and a pizza party to those with one month of perfect attendance.

“Some students cannot make it through an entire month, but even for a week, we can recognize them,” Robinson said in a previous interview. “Our goal this year is to promote good attendance.”

The NCDPI also indicated a variety of programs statewide are contributing to the decrease in dropout rates, many of which are being implemented in Brunswick County, including the Early College High School, NovaNET online courses offered for all high school students and the 8th Grade Transition Academy.

“Once you develop an action plan, you’ll see improvements,” Superintendent Katie McGee said.