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State of Our Schools: Dropout Rates

READ MORE: State of Our Schools: Dropout Rates
Across North Carolina, students are dropping out of high school at an alarming rate. It is also a problem many of our local counties face each school year. In New Hanover County dropout rates have been steadily increasing for the past few years. In the 2004 to 2005 school year, 416 students dropped out. The next year, the number jumped to 435, and in the 2006 to 2007 school year, 466 students left school. Louise Hicks is one of many local advocates working to curb the drop out trend. She serves as the executive director of Communities In Schools. "Dropouts are climbing, behavior issues are climbing, juvenile crime is climbing," said Hicks. With the help of hundreds of volunteers, Communities In Schools provides our areas schools with drop out prevention counselors, suspension programs, and anger management classes. Hicks said, "We're seeing wonderful results from our programs, but over a scattering of schools. What we are doing now is going to be able to really focus our programs for entire school population and make a large affect on a whole school population." Right now, Communities In Schools provides services on a case-by-case basis. But with dropout numbers on the rise, even more needs to be done. Next year, the organization will have a representative stationed at seven sites throughout New Hanover and Pender Counties. Williams Elementary, Virgo Middle, New Hanover High, and Lakeside High School were all chosen because of their exam performance, low attendance and behavioral issues. All of those factors play into a student's decision to drop out. "There's a huge need in our community, and the school system recognizes that, as did we and that's why we'll work together and figure out how to tackle the issue here," said Hicks. Even though it's still under construction, the WIRE center will be another Communities in Schools site. The WIRE, or Wilmington Youth Center for Inspiration, Recreation and Education, will serve middle and high school students through tutoring programs, and gang prevention counselors. WIRE program supervisor, Annie Adams said, "Now they will have a huge space where they can come and see that not only during the day do I have somewhere to go, but even after school and into the evening, there is a safe place for me to go and get some hope and resources." Communities In Schools is also working closely with Lakeside High School, an alternative school for students in New Hanover County. Lakeside High School principal, Jerry Oates said, "We're finding that a lot of the drop outs are these non-traditional students -- students who have self-esteem issues. Academically they have it. The issue is they don't think enough of themselves to go through the traditional model that we have established, that we are used to having." Come September, the school will not only have a new curriculum, but a new name too. Lakeside will be known as the Mary Mosley Performance Learning Center, a non-traditional school to give at risk students a chance to succeed. The center will only open its doors to 100 students, who will each be paired with their own mentors. "This is not another alternative program for students who just don't have the drive to graduate. The students first have the drive to graduate, and the academic drive to complete graduation," said Oates. Communities In Schools plans to have their representatives stationed in those seven sites throughout New Hanover County by the next school year.

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Well I see it like this I

Well I see it like this I worked in a school until I moved. But you have to work with the kids at home and at school. You have to make sure that you have a good relationship with the teachers. Every now and again go and check on your child and see how the teacher is treating your child. You have some people who think the teacher is going to do everything for you child. And that isn't the case you are you child first teacher so what can you do. To keep your child from dropping out of school. Some parents come with some attitudes when they approach the teachers to talk. So it is hard for the teacher and sometimes the parents. But if your kids is out of school that long go on and sign up. So your child want forget anything get some software for his age group. That is how you can help him/her to improve on things. That is how I do both of my kids a teenager and a 2nd grader. So don't leave it up to the teacher being a teacher's aid parents didn't even come to the conferences. For their kids that shows you how involved they are but they can show up for a sale at a store. Or wear all those name brand clothes. Some have it backwards your kids you should help get through school and life. Not just what you have and what you want sometimes you have to put that aside sometimes. Ask your kids how their day was they have tough days too. Not just because you are providing for them they have problems too.


Is it any wonder they drop out? The last four months my son has done no learning at all. He has taken the EOG practice test time after time after time. True education is not taught at a goverment school. Repetive exercises on what the goverment nannies think you should know at a particular grade level is not an education. Thank God our tax money is being used properly.....

Disgusted with our current public school systems

There's two sides of every story. What we need is someone to do a story on why some kids and parents are so disgusted with our current school systems that kids are trying alternate routes to complete their education (home schooling, online high school, etc.). School rules and many teachers' attitudes show a complete disregard and disrespect to individual students in today's world. No longer is our public school system a nuturing place or even encourging place for our kids. (And for those that wonder, no......I don't say this because I have a problem child. Mine graduated in the top 10 of his class and is doing the same in college.)

Dear Disgusted

Careful,,,I think the school system is failing our kids, expressed it here and got totally blasted. I have a child that is totally respectful and doing well. We are in serious need of an overhaul in the public school system. It's too bad I can't write off the tuition I now have to pay at a private school, not to mention the high taxes we pay. Also, our children should not be allowed to drop out at the age of 16.

drop outs,,

The reason kids are dropping out isn't because they can't do the work, they refuse to do the work. They are too caught up with trying to keep from getting their butts kicked. The kids are only there for one reason, to see who is beating who. A lot of the kids today are only concerned with who is with who and who is hurting who. If, you act like you care what you are learning you are frowned upon, not just by being called the teachers pet,but beat up. If you don't act like the rest of them, you are called out and made a spectical and hurt. I feel sorry for a lot of these kids who just want an education.

drop outs

all public schools have a problem since disipline was taken from the schools and from the childs own home!!! what do you expect? thank those who have nothing to do but change the laws!!!! they have taken rules out of schools. who can show disipline anymore? not even the parents!!!!!!