The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

January 14, 2013

Dropouts, violence decline in ECPS in 2012

The Daily Southerner
MIRANDA BAINES

TARBORO — Last year, Edgecombe County Public Schools (ECPS) were safer and more high school students stayed in school than the previous year. Those figures mirrored a statewide trend of decreased dropout rates and a decline in school violence in 2011-2012, according to a consolidated data report presented to the State Board of Education on Thursday.

Last school year, ECPS had a dropout rate of 4.81 percent, or 106 students, compared to a rate of 4.92 percent, or 112 students during the 2010-2011 school year. In North Carolina, 13,488 students dropped out of school last year compared to 15,342 in the 2010-2011 school year.

That rate set a record low.

“We are very pleased to see both our dropout and reportable acts of school crime/violence numbers drop this past year,” said ECPS Supt. John Farrelly. “Lowering the dropout rate is a community effort of students, parents and staff members. Providing safe schools is job one in ECPS; seeing the reportable school crime and violence numbers drop significantly is a powerful indicator that our schools are moving in a positive direction.”

The number of acts of school crime and violence for ECPS was 8.307 per 1,000 students in the 2011-2012 school year, compared to a rate of 14 per 1,000 in the 2010-2011 school year and 15.89 in the 2009-2010 year.

An objective in the strategic plan for ECPS is to produce “healthy and responsible students,” with a goal of reducing disruptive behavior and fighting referrals by 10 percent this school year.

The board of education approved the plan in its September 2012 meeting.

ECPS’ rate of acts of crime and violence last school year was slightly above North Carolina’s rate of 7.63 per 1,000 students, which represents a 5 percent decrease from the 2010-2011 school year and the lowest reported since the 2008-2009 year. Short-term and long-terms suspensions, as well as expulsions, decreased among North Carolina students last school year.

Decreasing the dropout rate by 3 percentage points by the end of the 2012-2013 school year another objective in the district’s strategic plan, falling under the goal of producing “globally competitive students.”

The consolidated data report revealed that North Carolina students drop out of school most frequently in the 10th grade (28.6 percent), followed by the ninth grade (26.7 percent).