Dropout rates keeps shrinking in NC and Charlotte region

Dropout rates continued a six-year slide in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and around North Carolina, state officials reported Wednesday.

The 2012-13 tally came as no surprise, given that the state posted rising graduation rates in August. The dropout rate, which is reported with the annual crime, violence and suspension numbers, is another way of tracking efforts to keep students in school.

Last year 2.45 percent of North Carolina high school students and 3.02 percent of those in CMS dropped out, the report shows. In 2007, those rates were 5.27 percent statewide and 6.39 percent in CMS.

Last year 82.5 percent of North Carolina students and 81 percent of those in CMS graduated on time, setting records for the state and district.

Surrounding counties have also kept more students on track to graduate. Gaston County, which had the region’s highest dropout rate in 2009, now has among the lowest at 1.61 percent.

While CMS’ rate is shrinking, it remains higher than any of the surrounding counties and other large districts.

In recent years, CMS and other districts have used a mix of personal instruction and online lessons to help students who fall behind catch up on credits so they can graduate. CMS has also created alternative settings with evening hours for older students and launched truancy courts to head off the excessive absences that often lead to dropping out.