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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dropouts analyzed during discussion

Friday, April 2, 2010

This bar graph, provided by the Indiana Department of Education, is a comparison of graduation rates between the Clay Community School Corporation (shaded in green) and the state average (in yellow) from the 2005-06 school year through the 2008-09 year.
Members of the community and administrators within the Clay Community School Corporation met with one goal in mind Thursday, how to prevent future dropouts.

"We really do not have a high dropout rate in comparison to the number of students that go to school here and the number that graduate," Assistant Supt. of Curriculum Kim Tucker said. "But one student dropout is one too many."

The goal was to highlight the dropout problem as a community while bringing public awareness to the challenges schools face to ensure "at-risk" students stay in school and graduate.

Parents and students joined Tucker, Director of Curriculum and Grants Kathy Knust, Clay City Jr./Sr. High School Principal Jeff Bell, Northview High School Principal Tim Rayle, North Clay Middle School Principal Jeff Allen, Meridian Elementary Principal Karen Phillips, Clay City Elementary Principal Dorene Kenworthy, Cumberland Academy Principal Lisa Showalter and Linking Education to Adults, Adolescents and Preschoolers (LEAAP) Center Coordinator Mary Yelton in the discussion.

Tucker presented information regarding the percentage of students who have graduated as well as the graduation rates within the Western Indiana Conference (WIC) that are the approximate size and socioeconomic level compared to Clay Community Schools.

For the 2008-09, CCSC had an 83-percent graduation rate compared to 89.3 percent at Brown County School Corporation, 79 percent at Eastern Greene Schools, 86.6 percent at North Putnam Community School, 86.5 percent at South Putnam Community Schools, 77.5 percent for South Vermillion Community School Corporation and 74.8 percent at Spencer-Owen Community Schools.

Discussion ensued about the how graduation rates are figured by the Indiana Department of Education.

"In 2009, there were a total of 17 students that dropped out of the corporation," Tucker said. "Three students were sophomores, six were juniors and eight were seniors."

According to Tucker, five of students were female and 12 were male. Ten of them were from socially economical disadvantaged environments and 11 were receiving special education services. One of the students had passing grades and seven had passed both sections of the Graduation Qualifying Exam (GQE). The average attendance was more than 20 absences per year.

"When a student misses that much academic time it is hard to make that up," Tucker said. "Poor attendance can be related to any number of reasons, but the most common are health issues, drugs, alcohol, depression and working late during the evenings and weekends."

Tucker continued by discussing the types of offenses that students cause such as truancy, fighting, constant disruption, threats made to other students, drug possession and theft. The misbehavior can result in multiple suspensions and expulsion at the middle and high schools.

"Some of the research-based strategies for dropout prevention include mentoring or tutoring, service learning, alternative schooling and after school opportunities," she said. "Early interventions such as early childhood education, family engagement and early literacy development have been proven to have a direct impact on the future of the community."

The individuals in charge of the interventions that are currently in place for students gave brief descriptions of each program and the success. Some of these programs include Cumberland Academy, Court Ordered Placement for Education (C.O.P.E.), Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG), READ 180/System 44, Advanced Placement (AP)/dual credit agreements with area colleges and universities. As well as the developmental preschool and Title 1 preschool, Adult Basic Education (GED) and the Family Literacy Program sponsored at the LEAAP Center. There are also Kids, Family and Community (KFC), the YMCA Summer Day Camp and the YMCA After School Programs.

"You can see a big difference in students with mentoring program," Tucker said. "Some students just need that person to give them that extra boost of confidence."

Those in attendance broke into small groups to help generate more ideas, some of which would include an increase in communication with parents, identify potential "at-risk" students earlier, more professional development for teachers regarding "at-risk" students and forming a parent support group.

"We need the support of the community," Tucker said. "Because one child dropping out is one too many."

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Several questions: What about the practice of passing a student when they are not at the level of accomplishment in lower grades? Parents are final decision makers on this and many times doing their own child injustice.

What about our deficient home school testing process that does not make sure student is actually being taught?

What about the student who does graduate but is ill prepared for entering society and workforce?

As we improve in one area we fall behind in another as education is moving faster than Clay County School Corporation is.

Now we are working on the lower end of the student population but are we measuring the number of graduates we have at various levels and how they compare to previous year and other locations AND what the graduate needs in today's world?

If we only push up the lower performing student and not provide for the others, our general educational population will still decline. Therefor so will the population's earning power and economic status in the world.

Here in fact we are REMOVING academic opportunities for those at the middle and hgh end of the student population by decreasing the number of classes per day and combining upper level courses in one class period with a single teacher. This removes contact time with teacher and course material while other locations are actually increasing classes per day. Our "nova net" cannot replace what a teacher led classroom/course can so we are dumbing down our top students by not letting them get anywhere near their potential.

I say one dumbed down student who graduates is too many as well but no one seems to be addressing that issue....while continuing to add to buildings while student population decreases...

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Sat, Apr 3, 2010, at 9:31 AM

I applaud the fact that a Drop Out Summit has been held and a small population who often falls through the cracks is getting much needed attention by more people than the dedicated individuals who work daily with them to get them through.

Jenny- you would be well served if you expanded your thought process beyond "either/or". Helping one group is not taking away from another. All students deserve to receive a basic education. We are trying to provide education to ALL students in this community. You have so many great thoughts and ideas I have read in the past. Please think about all the kids, not just your own. No one is attempting to "dumb down" anyone. Education is for everyone, no matter what their situation is as a child.

-- Posted by Claycountian on Sat, Apr 3, 2010, at 5:07 PM

Sometimes these kids just dont want to conform to the "rules". They think they are above all the structure needed to educate kids in schools like Northview, and until they are eventually out of the system;they drain the staff, requiring constant supervision, and attention.

That drain also prevents other students who might be struggling from getting any help.

You can lead a horse to water....

-- Posted by reddevil on Sat, Apr 3, 2010, at 10:22 PM

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