PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT) – Pitt county schools are seeing improvements when it comes to their dropout rates.
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction recently released data from the 2016-2017 school year regarding district outcomes related to dropout rates, school crime and violence rates, as well as short-term and long-term suspension rates.
According to the numbers in the 2016-17 school year 158 students dropped out as compared to 195 three years earlier.
Administrators said having relationships with their students is key to keeping students in class and in school.
Pitt Academy Transition Center student Kniphon Knight said he has thought about dropping out many times.
“If I couldn’t come here or things weren’t going right at Rose I was going to stop going,” Knight described the academy. He said it has changed his outlook on life.
“Seeing friends skipping thought it was cool wanted to do it you know all them dropped out and I’m the only one still here trying to graduate,” he explained.
Coordinator for alternative education Michael Lutz said working with students like Knight proves what they’re doing is changing their lives and others around them.
“No student is disposable and if you realize that they all make a difference,” explained Lutz. “To see him (Knight) as laser focused as he is right now and I’m going to get this done and his work ethic at this point is just without par he’s knocking them out and getting them done.”
Knight credits his focus change and goals to own his own business to the teachers who’ve helped him along the way, but his true motivation is to make a difference in the eyes of someone close to his heart.
“My son keeps me motivated right now. I don’t want him to grow up knowing that if it gets hard you just stop and give up you know. I want him to know you can get it done if you actually put in the effort to get it done,” Knight explained.
Pitt County Schools has been implementing Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports, throughout the school district as a means to address student behavior and reduce the number of short-term suspensions from school.
The district also attributes the improvement in suspension data in part to the continued support and growth of alternative learning programs.