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Shenandoah County dropout rate dips to 0.28 percent

The dropout rate for Shenandoah County Public Schools reached a historic low of 0.28 percent in 2012-2013, nearly a full percent less than the state average. Photo courtesy of Shenandoah County Pubic Schools. (Buy photo)

By Ryan Cornell

WOODSTOCK -- The dropout rate in Shenandoah County Public Schools continues to drop.

It's dropped for the past three consecutive years, from 0.91 percent in 2010-2011 to 0.89 percent in 2011-2012 and to 0.28 percent in 2012-2013.

Student Information System Administrator Debora Swecker said that Shenandoah County's public schools drop-out rates compare favorably to others in the area as well as to the state average.

Shenandoah County ranks third among neighboring school divisions behind Clarke County (0 percent) and Page County (0.19 percent) and well below Virginia's average dropout rate (1.26 percent). Swecker said she expects the downward trend to continue.

"It's not zero percent and until it is zero percent, we will continue to build relationships that will keep students in school and ensure each student's success," Swecker said during a presentation of an annual report to the School Board meeting on Thursday,

According to the report, the dropout rates at Stonewall Jackson High School, North Fork Middle School and Signal Knob Middle School each measured zero percent. The dropout rates were 0.13 percent at Central High School, 0.90 percent at Strasburg High School and 0.27 percent at Peter Muhlenberg Middle School.

The division's dropout rate was lower than others in Virginia deemed comparable in terms of membership and composite index, including Orange, Botetourt, Mecklenberg, Gloucester and Accomack counties, Swecker said.

School Board Chairman Richard Koontz described the percentage as "certainly numbers to be proud of."

Division Superintendent Jeremy Raley credited the low dropout rate to student engagement.

"We have teachers who are working hard to meet the individual needs of every child and we have a low dropout rate because, like Deb said, kids like school and they have opportunities to succeed."

Dropout rates measured 0.79 percent for Frederick County, 1.09 percent for Warren County and 1.19 percent for Winchester City.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com

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