Dropout numbers show decline in Opp

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 18, 2011

Preliminary numbers this year show a “considerable improvement” in the number of dropouts in the Opp City School system, officials said this week.

Superintendent Michael Smithart said they are seeing success in addressing the drop out problem in his report to the board this week.

Officials have added additional faculty and staff for the exit interview process when a student chooses to drop out, as a method if intervention, among other means of assisting students with understanding standards necessary for graduation.

“Preliminary reports show we only have five true dropouts,” he said. “And that’s down considerably, but five is too high. We want it to be zero.”

Smithart said this number reflects the dropouts who didn’t transfer or enroll in another program.

In the past, the number has been as high as 12, Smithart said.

While 12 may not seem that high, Opp’s classes traditionally run about 100 students each, so each drop out counts as 1 percent, he said.

This number could be good news in terms of meeting adequate yearly progress on the graduation rate portion; however, it’s no guarantee because there are different formulas for determining the dropout rate as opposed to graduation rate.

“It should be an improvement,” he said. “The number of dropouts is reduced by the number that enter GED programs or take other alternative routes. The graduation rate looks at the number that comes in as freshman and four years later receive a diploma. So, the numbers may not match.”