The Center for Safer Schools recently presented its annual consolidated data report from the 2022-23 school year to the N.C. State Board of Education — including a decrease in dropout rates among high school aged students compared to the previous year.
The dropout rate for 2022-23 academic year in North Carolina was 1.95 dropouts per 100 high school students, down from 2.25 dropouts per 100 students in the 2021-22 year. Dropout rates were lower in 2022-23 than in the six school years before the pandemic.
Gov. Pat McCrory created the Center for Safer Schools in 2013 under Executive Order 25. The center partners with North Carolina public schools to promote safe learning environments in K-12 schools. Karen Fairley, the executive director of CFSS, said she attributes the state’s success in this category to policies put in place by N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt and her leadership team.
Shaneeka Moore-Lawrence, the president of the N.C. Parent Teacher Association, said she believes the decrease in dropouts could be attributed to the more comprehensive support students are receiving since they have returned after the pandemic.
“I think that school districts and organizations across North Carolina really rallied together and collaborated at the highest level that I've seen in my 24 years as an educator to make sure that there was not an option for students to not have what they needed,” Moore-Lawrence said.
Abigail Paquin, a UNC student who interned in a sixth-grade classroom at Culbreth Middle School last semester, said one thing she believes could be contributing to the continued decrease in dropout rates is the positive relationships teachers make with their students in the classroom.
"Their relationships with their students are pivotal," Paquin said. "Having a positive relationship with a student highly impacts the student's desire to come to school."