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Delaware high school drop-out rate lowest in 30 years

Delaware Public Media

Delaware high schools are seeing a decline in high school drop-outs, according to a report from the state Department of Education.


During the 2015-2016 school year, 547 of the state’s 40,000 public high school students dropped out - a 1.4 percent rate. That’s down from 2.2 percent the year before, and is the lowest dropout rate the First State has seen in over 30 years.


But not all schools are seeing a lower dropout rate. For example, in the Brandywine School District, 29 students dropped out from Concord High School last year - up nine from 2014-2015.


Brandywine superintendent Mark Holodick said it’s a challenge to keep  a drop-out rate consistently declining.


"You just might have a particular class of students who is just more challenging to meet their needs," Holodick said. "I think we learn over time the strategies that are working."


But there are some areas of concern. Holodick has worked in Sussex and New Castle County and said he has noticed more males tend to drop out. Last year, 61 percent of the dropouts statewide were male.


Holodick says his district is working to address that trend.


"I think our guidance counselors are using academic, behavioral and attendance data more effectively than ever to identify students earlier and put targeted interventions into place to support students," Holodick said.


Schools across the state are moving towards intervention to keep students on track, Holodick said. According to the Department of Education, 34 percent of the drop-outs were ninth-graders. Looking at the drop-out rate demographically,43.6 percent were black, 34.5 were white and 21.7 percent were Hispanic.


Graduation rates for the state as a whole are up slightly. 84.6 percent of all students graduated last year, compared to 84.3 in 2015.


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