Twenty-three students were counted as dropouts last year, for a dropout rate of 0.4 percent, according to this year’s annual report. That number has decreased from 1.04 percent, which was posted in the 2007-08 school year .
Orange County Schools had 54 students drop out last year, which equated to a dropout rate of 1.54 percent. Durham Public Schools had a dropout rate of 2.18 percent, with 323 students who dropped out in the past year .
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools’ decreasing dropout rate might be due to the organizations the district has created in order to help kids stay on track, said Jeff Nash , spokesman for the district.
“Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate does an amazing job with students who might be thinking about dropping out,” Nash said.
The program starts in fourth grade when a child receives a mentor within the community to help them move forward in his or her life.
Nash said freshman year is the main period of time when schools really have to work to keep students.
The program mentors provide students with tutoring, mentoring, leadership training and scholarship support services, according to the organization’s website .
The organization is designed to improve the achievement of African-American and Latino students, and it has also helped the district battle its widening achievement gap — the term used to describe the disparity between the academic performance of black and Hispanic students and their white peers.
The district met 96.6 percent of the 560 federal goals last year, according to a press release from the district in November. The district also met 94.6 percent of the state’s 947 Common Core goals.
Of the 27 achievement goals the district did not meet last year, 20 were from the economically disadvantaged students group.
“It’s not specifically academic,” said James Barrett , a member of the district’s Board of Education.
“It’s great to see support for kids to see what their goals are and what they need to do accomplish them.”
Barrett said Rep. Graig Meyer , D-Orange, did a great job with the program as coordinator.
Barrett also said the Blue Ribbon Youth Leadership Institute and Phoenix Academy High are organizations that helped decrease the dropout rate in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.
“I think we have put together a really good group of programs between the mentoring work that we do, as well as the great work we do at our alternative high school, Phoenix Academy,” Barrett said.
The Phoenix Academy is within the Chapel Hill-Carrboro High School and serves 35 to 45 students. The academy targets students that have been severely dissatisfied with the educational system in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.
Barrett said he thinks these programs help keep students in school.
“I think all of these things contribute to a great environment for our students.”