The New Hampshire Department of Education’s 2013-2014 high school dropout statistics show the Manchester School District rate fell from 4.22% annually to 2.34%, compared to the statewide rate decreasing from 1.29% to 1.05%. The four-year rate in Manchester decreased from 15.84% to 9.05%, while the four-year state average dropped from 5.06% to 4.13%.
“These are very encouraging numbers that are the result of a lot of hard work by teachers, counselors, administrators and families,” said Superintendent Debra Livingston. “There are many people and programs to thank for re-engaging students who might have given up on learning.”
The percentage decrease in Manchester means 211 students left school during the 2012-13 academic year and 114 students left during the 2013-14 school year. Cutting the number nearly in half was accomplished through a concentrated effort in personalizing education programs for students who encountered obstacles to attending school regularly or preparing for it successfully.
“Guidance and administrative staff have made extraordinary efforts to reach out to students who were close to graduating but unable to finish, for myriad reasons,” said Dr. Livingston. “Having the flexibility to provide instruction for students who don’t fit into the traditional school model is a very powerful and, as we see, successful approach.”
Plans to continue re-engaging students who otherwise would not complete high school include the reorganization and location of adult and alternative learning programs, exploration of innovative summer learning programs, and advancing the outreach work already started in the schools by including more services for students with various challenges to their education.
Every high school offers ways to help students graduate, including flexibility in scheduling, allowing for interdisciplinary credit, and extended learning opportunities. Students’ progress is closely monitored.
“We are very pleased with the hard work and results to date, and we are confident that the rate will be even lower in the next school year. We will continue to work hard for each student in our school district,” said Dr. Livingston.