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District officials explain drop-out reduction

Hart district officials attribute success to program which started several years ago

Posted: May 13, 2009 8:06 p.m.
Updated: May 14, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Alternative programs and helping students connect to their schools were presented by William S. Hart Union High School District officials Wednesday as the reasons for the nearly 3-percent decrease in districtwide drop-out rate for the 2007-08 school year.

“We were pleased to see that the drop-out rate has decreased,” said Vicki Engbrecht, assistant superintendent of educational services.

The Department of Education reported that the William S. Hart Union High School District has a four-year drop-out rate of 10.5 percent for the 2007-08 school year, a dip from the 13.6-percent rate reported for 2006-07 school year.

Engbrecht attributes the decrease to the district’s focus on finding ways to connect students to their schools.

One option allows students to take part in alternative programs by attending charter schools or Bowman High School, the district’s continuation high school, she said.

“I don’t know that we did anything different last year. We just continue to try to find ways to connect students to their schools. I think it’s critically important that we offer different options,” she said.

Charter and continuation schools often work with students on an individual basis and allow students to work at their own pace.

“I think that provides very valuable options for students, because not all kids learn in hour-long increments in groups of 30,” she said.

Along with an overall districtwide decrease, the drop-out rate among Hispanic students decreased between 2006-07 and 2007-08, according to state figures.

The four-year drop-out rates are 6.9 percent for white students, 16.4 percent for Hispanic students, 25.9 percent for African American students and 1.1 percent for Asian students. Compared to drop-out rates for the 2007 graduating class, the drop-out percentages for all students have decreased.



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