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NHCo. Schools Reaching Out to Dropouts

By Roderick McClain

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/whqr/local-whqr-977045.mp3

07-11-11 – The General Assembly has passed a bill which will allow New Hanover County Schools to implement a new Dropout Recovery Pilot Program. WHQR's Roderick McClain reports that county school officials hope the program will help raise graduation rates in North Carolina and on a local level.

The bill's intent is to close the gap in graduation rates by offering a flexible curriculum to students whose circumstances might prevent attendance at a traditional school.

New Hanover County Board of Education member Elizabeth Redenbaugh says the pilot program aims to re-engage students between the ages of 16 and 21 who have stopped attending classes.

"This is a way to get them back into our high school system. They would receive an actual New Hanover County Schools high school diploma as opposed to a GED." (:11)

In the past, school officials didn't have a system for engaging students who stopped attending classes.

Redenbaugh says schools will receive the same per-student allotment for returning students as they receive for existing students.

"There's not additional tax revenue that's required in order for us to do this. It's a way for us to be able to offer hope to students who perhaps didn't consider the consequences of their actions when they made the decision to drop out."

The graduation rate for New Hanover county schools was nearly 70% in 2009. Redenbaugh says the program is designed to accommodate students with both morning and evening curriculum, in a central but yet-to-be-named location this fall.

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