Greene Co. superintendent links rising grad rates to new programs

SNOW HILL, N.C. (WNCT) – When school lets out at the end of the year, more and more students in Greene County are getting their diploma; however, that was not always the case.

In 2008, the district’s graduation rate was a mere 62.1 percent, and six percent of students dropped out.

“The graduation rate and dropout rate were obvious areas that needed improvement,” said Patrick Miller, Greene County Schools superintendent.

Over the last year, those numbers have dramatically improved. More than 93 percent of students graduated, higher than the state average.

Miller said new programs are helping to keep kids on track.

“Comprehensive counseling, providing individualized education plan, personalizing education for kids; we’ve got a lot more things that can keep kids in school,” said Miller.

The school system has also added welding and computer programs, plus certifications kids can obtain in school.

A new approach to getting parents on board and a focus on students’ future and school goals helps as well.

“I know that a lot of our students have definitely rallied behind our school goals and have gotten excited about that,” said Chris Campbell, school counselor. “And to see them take that on for themselves is definitely awesome.”

Miller said improvements seen in the district aren’t just from the work at the high school level. He said instilling a stay-in-school mindset starts in pre-kindergarten.

“(There are) lots of college themed posters,” said Miller. “All the teachers have posted outside their door a sign that says ‘I graduated from East Carolina University. Ask me about it.’ It’s just creating a culture of college for those that want college but mainly about staying in school and graduating.”

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