Schools to work on dropout rate

Published 8:45 am Sunday, August 13, 2006

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
The dropout rate that kept W.S. Neal High School and Escambia County High School from reaching state-mandated goals for progress were actually based on year-old data, county assistant superintendent Mary Beth Powell told school board members Thursday.
Because of the way the state compiled the information, state high schools had to use the numbers from the previous year.
But the school district is working with both schools to decrease the dropout rate, she said.
The school district has spent time and money this summer on dropout prevention programs.
In addition to math and reading goals, high schools in the state must maintain a certain graduation rate to earn their Adequate Yearly Progress goals under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Escambia County and Neal high schools made the reading and math goals but did not improve their graduate rates. If a school misses just one goal, it does not meet Adequate Yearly Progress. Goals are based on academic improvement and test participation across several different demographic groups.
But school district officials praised students and teachers this year for meeting AYP. This is the first year that all schools have met all of the academic goals other than the two high school graduation rates.
In other business Thursday: