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The state dropout rate improved slightly this year, resulting in 260 additional students remaining in school over last year's numbers, according to the 1995-96 dropout data released today.

View dropout rates by county.

The 1995-96 dropout rate is 3.73 percent (19,727 students), down from 3.78 percent (19,987 students) in 1994-95.

Deputy State Superintendent Richard Thompson said that while he is pleased that the number decreased from last year, local and state educators are concerned about the futures for any students who fail to get a high school education.

The dropout numbers are for grades 7-12 in the public schools. These numbers are based on the calculation method required by the National Center for Education Statistics. This method contains some duplications because students may be counted more than once if they drop out, return to school and drop out a second time.

There is no state-to-state comparison of dropout rates in the United States.

Major reasons school systems report that students drop out are: attendance-related reasons (family, work, etc.); choice of work over school; and academic problems.

Local dropout prevention coordinators are working with teachers, principals, counselors, and others to develop and improve programs aimed at high-risk students. Efforts include addressing substance abuse, involving parents, integrating counseling into the curriculum, scheduling classes to meet the needs of working students, referring students to community agencies for assistance, and offering health clinics.

For more information, contact Effective Practices Section at 919.807.3949.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.