KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – In just one year, Lenoir County’s school dropout rate jumped 127 percent which erased three years of a steady decline.
School spokesman Patrick Holmes said it’s only a hiccup.
“You gotta look at that as something that’s not going to be a trend,” Holmes said. “That’s something that happened that year that was specific to that group of kids.”
In the 2013-2014 school year, the dropout rate was at a low of 2.06; that number jumped to 4.71 last school year.
Holmes said because the dropout rate was trending low before last year, the school system will maintain the status quo.
“Our main focus is keeping students in touch with some sort of learning environment,” Holmes said.
The environment could be in a school or at the county’s Learning Academy.
He also believed the county providing iPads for students will help to lower the dropout rate.
“Create an environment where they’re learning something,” he said. “They’re having fun learning something, and they’re sort of doing it in an interesting way.”
Kinston Department of Public Safety Sergeant Dennis Taylor is also helping to lower dropouts through the nationally recognized Gang Resistance Education and Training or GREAT program.
It teaches middle-school aged children how to make good decisions and avoid getting into trouble with gangs, crime or drugs.
“I think the GREAT program will encourage kids to stay in school more,” Sgt. Taylor said. “You learn more about yourself.”
Holmes said the school system will also learn more about itself as it continues to investigate the sudden spike in dropouts.
The report can be found here.