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Barbour BOE discusses dropouts

August 4, 2012
By Melissa Toothman Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

Barbour County Board of Education members learned this week that 24 students dropped out of school this year in Barbour County.

Glenn Sweet, facilities director, discussed graduation rates with the board for this past school year. He said Philip Barbour High School improved its graduation rate for the year, but did not meet the Cohort Graduation Rate. However, the improvement made adequate yearly progress.

Board President Bob Wilkins said some of the reasons students drop out are poor peer relationships and a dislike for the school experience.

Another factor that may contribute to dropouts is whether their parents completed school. Sweet said 92 percent of the 24 dropouts this year had at least one parent who also had dropped out of school.

Gear-up, a program designed for students whose parents didn't make it to college, is no longer a program option for the school. It was based on a regional grant that benefited many of the counties in RESA VII and was not funded at the regional level. Barbour County did not get continued funding of the grant and would have to find alternative funds to continue the program.

"It certainly did address the opportunities for kids," Wilkins said.

Elaine Benson, director of personnel, said other programs and grants already have begun to help and will continue to help over time, such as the Safe and Supportive Schools grant. Also, the innovation zone grant and New Tech program would have a positive impact on the graduation rate and decrease of dropouts.

"It's going to be things that will excite kids. ... Kids will feel purpose for going to school," Benson said.

Of the 24 students who dropped out, 11 students attended Belington Middle School and 11 attended Philippi Middle School; the remaining students entered Philip Barbour High School from outside the county, Sweet said.

None of the dropouts from the past year attended Volga Elementary School or Kasson Elementary/Middle School. Of the dropout students who attended elementary schools in Barbour County, seven went to Philippi Elementary, seven to Junior, five to Belington Elementary and three to Mount Vernon Elementary, Sweet told the board.



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