The dropout rate for North Carolina saw a marked decrease last school year.
Overall, the state hit its lowest dropout rate ever recorded at 3.4 percent, or 15,342 students.
In New Hanover, the rate is now 3.8 percent down from 4.9 percent. That means 295 students dropped out of school in the 2010-2011 school year compared to 385 students the year before.
The numbers were released Thursday by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
Pender County also saw a more than 12 percent decrease and Brunswick County had more than a 15 percent drop.
For New Hanover, Schools Superintendent Tim Markley said in a press release that the lower amount of dropouts last year is due to the county’s concerted efforts, including the work of the Dropout Prevention Task Force. The group developed a reduced elective credit diploma for students who have fallen behind and are at risk of dropping out. Graduation coaches have also been helping at-risk students at each high school.
The state Department of Instruction also released data on suspensions and expulsions which are down in New Hanover for high and middle school students. Administrators say that elementary school suspensions are up and they attribute the reduction in teacher assistants to the rise in disciplinary issues across the district’s K-5 schools.
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