WCPSS dropout rate decreases in 2011-12

The Wake County Public School System’s dropout rate continues to improve and falls below the state average for the 14th year in a row. The dropout rate decreased to 2.83 percent in 2011-12 from 3.25 percent in 2010-11 for Wake County high schools, according to new data released by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

DPI reported a decline in the number of WCPSS high school students who dropped out from 1,386 in 2010-11 to 1,236 in 2011-12. At the same time, the total WCPSS high school population increased from 41,407 to 42,143 students.

“I am encouraged by our efforts to keep our students in school and moving toward graduation. We will continue to focus our efforts on pushing that rate lower,” said Interim Superintendent Stephen Gainey. “As a former high school principal, I can tell you there is no prouder moment than watching your students walk across the graduation stage.”

Marvin Connelly, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, described dropout prevention assistance his division offered schools:

•Providing a system that identified students who exhibited characteristics associated with students who drop out;
•Implementing a dropout prevention grant in four schools targeting at risk students;
•Identifying students who dropped out the previous year, and engaging them in targeted outreach to return to school;
•Providing additional access to alternative learning programs for students.

The WCPSS dropout rate remains lower than the state average and is lower than rates for most large urban NC school districts, including Durham, Forsyth and Mecklenburg.

Dropout rates for various WCPSS subgroups improved as well. African-American students had a rate of 4.58 percent and Hispanic/Latino students had a rate of 4.95 percent, nearly a full percentage point decrease from 2010-11 for each group.

The 2011-12 dropout rate also decreased for WCPSS students with disabilities to 5.39 percent from 6.5 percent in 2010-11, and for Economically Disadvantaged students to 4.69 percent from 5.3 percent in 2010-11.

Read the WCPSS Data and Accountability Department report.