UNION COUNTY —The Union County School District’s dropout rate declined between the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years according to figures released by the State Department of Education.
Director of Secondary Education Cindy Langley presented the Union County Board of School Trustees with the figures Monday evening. Langley said the district has collected the data for the past two years in accordance with state guidelines which permit districts to monitor for two years those students who leave high school and transfer to an adult education program to earn either a high school diploma or a GED. She said that the two years covered in the report were the first years the district has included Union County Adult Education in calculating its dropout rate.
“Before then it was just based on Union County High School,” Langley said Tuesday. “Previously a student who transferred to Adult Ed was considered a dropout. Now we can track the student for two years and if the student receives either a diploma or GED he is no longer considered a dropout.”
Langley said in 2013, 19 students between the ages of 17 and 21 received a diploma at Adult Ed while 21 received their GED. She said those 40 students are therefore not considered dropouts.
“It has helped to reduce the percentage of dropout and increase the percentage of citizens in Union County with a high school diploma,” Langley said.
This is reflected in the Department of Education report which states that in 2011-2012 the district’s dropout rate was 3.1 percent or 38 students including 8 from UCHS and 30 from Adult Education. This was down from 2010-2011 when the dropout rate was 3.4 percent or 42 students including 12 from UCHS and 30 from Adult Education.
The dropout rate is defined as the proportion of students who leave high school during a given year without having completed a program of studies or transferring to another school or institution.
Langley said that the reduction of its dropout rate goes hand-in-hand with the district’s goal of increasing the number of Union County residents with high school diplomas.
“A major academic goal for us is to increase the number of high school graduates in Union County,” stated Cindy Langley, director of secondary education. “Our first priority remains for students to graduate with their cohort at Union County High School; however, monitoring the achievements and needs of the young adults who transfer to adult education permits us to provide an additional service to the community.”
In addition to diplomas and GEDs, Langley said another 54 Adult Ed students received Career Ready Certificates. The certificates are part of the SC WorkReady Initiative which is a credentialing program designed to provide highly-skilled workers for business and industry in South Carolina.
Langley said 18 of those students receive bronze certificates, 32 silver, and four gold.
“We are very proud of the students who chose to complete their education with us,” Eric Childers, director of Adult Education, said. “We realize that the issues our students face range from finding affordable and appropriate daycare to juggling their studies with work schedules. These obstacles make completing their high school credential a monumental task. We will continue to encourage and increase our provided support system to ensure these students are successful.”