ACS significantly decreases student dropouts

Published 12:01 am Saturday, November 6, 2010

Andalusia City Schools saw a sharp decline in the number of dropouts last school year, school officials said Tuesday.

Superintendent Ted Watson said the number of dropouts dropped from 15 in the 2008-2009 school year to three last school year, which is a significant decrease in the last five years.

There were eight dropouts in the 2007-2008 school year, 14 in the 2006-2007 school year and nine in the 2005-2006 school year.

Watson said there are a variety of reasons students choose to drop out.

“Some fall victim to family responsibilities and circumstances,” he said. “Others just fall behind because they weren’t mature enough to realize what kind of impact an education would have.

“Either way, getting behind and not being with peers deals a terrible blow to the completion of school,” he said.

Watson said to help combat school dropouts, school officials have joined forces to implement several strategies that have proven effective.

“We have established credit recovery,” he said. “It is a computer-generated program that allows students to retake courses that they may have failed and at there own pace.”

Watson said using the credit recovery program, students are not required to complete objectives they have already mastered in a class, and only focus on those objectives that were not passed.

“This allows students to obtain course credit while staying as close to track for graduation as possible,” he said.

Additionally, Watson said all schools in the state have executed an “exit interview.”

“This is a mandatory conversation that students and/or parents must have with a designated school official to discuss the choice they are about to make and the lifelong impact it will have,” Watson said.

Andalusia High School students Brandee Phillips, Josh Atkinson, Sydney Brunson and Grace Spears study on Friday. AHS dropouts have decreased dramatically. | Kendra Bolling/Star-News