Most high school dropouts stick with their decision, despite counselors’ intervention
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Local high school counselors are doing what they can to intervene and offer up some options when students drop out of school.
Often, though, that intervention fails to change the students’ minds or get them to consider alternatives, according to a recent report to the Roaring Fork School District board of education.
“Most of what we’re doing seems to be more reactive, when a proactive program would be more beneficial,” school board member Bill Lamont observed in response to the report given at the June 10 school board meeting.
“We need to reach out to these kids who are at risk, and grab them in the eighth or ninth grade [before they decide to drop out],” he said.
According to the report, Glenwood Springs High School had 13 students dropouts this past school year, including six from 12th grade, four from 11th grade and three from 10th grade.
Neighboring Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale had 23 dropouts, including eight each in 11th and 12th grade, six in 10th grade, and one in ninth grade.
Basalt High School had the fewest dropouts in the district, with seven (four in 12th grader, two in 11th grade and one in ninth grade).
Most of the students who dropped out had received some sort of targeted intervention, “not only this year but, in most cases, previous years as well,” according to the report.
Interventions typically include:
• meetings with the student to determine the factors related to their lack of success, and to try to develop strategies to put them on track to graduate;
• meetings with parents and students to ensure they understand the status of their student and explain the options;
• meetings with parents, the student and teachers all involved;
• consideration of alternative high schools, such as Bridges or Yampah Mountain, or online/correspondence classes to make up credits; and,
• referrals to local agencies such as YouthZone and Job Corps.
Many students who drop out of high school do go on to pursue a GED, the high school equivalency exam.
“This decision was thoroughly discussed with the students and their parents,” according to the report. “Although not recommended, this was the direction they chose.”
Counselors explain that staying in school and earning a diploma has benefits that a GED does not afford, such as offering social interaction with other students, District Superintendent Judy Haptonstall said.
“GED should not be the accepted alternative to a high school diploma,” school board member Myles Rovig said.
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