Ardmore City Schools is seeing a positive trend in the number of dropouts at Ardmore High School.
AHS principal Jake Falvey presented a report to the Ardmore City Schools Board of Education last week regarding the current dropout situation at AHS, a report the high school presents annually. Falvey said the number of dropouts are trending down from last year.
“Today is a good day,” Falvey told the board. “The numbers are down significantly.”
Falvey’s report showed the number of dropouts at 25 for the 2015-2016 school year, a nearly 56 percent decrease from the 45 dropouts in 2014-2015. Falvey said a number of factors have contributed to the drop, including a trend of increased attendance and the impact of programs like Second Chance Academy and Take Two Academy.
“They were able to take kids who would’ve been on this report and take them to the finish line,” Falvey said of the alternative education outlets. “We’ve used our resources to help all these kids.”
Falvey said the school carries students as “dropouts” until they either enroll in another public school, obtain their GED or turn 21. Family situations, hardships and other circumstances, he said, are the primary reason for students dropping out. The dropouts are a reflection of the environment many students are growing up in, Falvey said.
“The challenges of a live urban high school are quite evident in our numbers,” Falvey told the board. “The challenges we have, they’re not going to go away. But we didn’t want these numbers to continue to grow.”
Several of the board members pointed out the drop, which is significant even compared to the 2013-2014 report, which saw 32 students drop out. Falvey said suspensions have also been down at the school across the board, which may have an impact on dropout rates.
The transition from middle school to high school can be challenging for some students, according to Falvey. He said the jump from smaller class sizes to the larger setting at the high school can be a lot for some students and the ninth grade has been a focus for preventing dropout rates from increasing.
While the numbers are encouraging, Falvey said the administrators at the school aren’t satisfied.
“If it’s one it’s too many,” he said. “They’re ours. It’s our job to educate as many of these kids as we possibly can.
“This is a positive in a situation where we want perfection.”
Demographically speaking, last year’s dropout rates included 11 male students and 14 female students, according to the report. Among those, six were freshman, seven were sophomores, six were juniors and six were seniors. Of the 25, five were Native American, six were African American and 14 were white, according to Falvey’s report.
Falvey said, going forward the school will look to continue the trend of less students dropping out, an effort he said is a collaboration between the high school, Second Chance Academy and Take Two Academy to ensure every student that walks through their halls is educated.
“We need these kids. We own these numbers,” he said. “No matter where they are they’re Ardmore City Schools kids. We will continue to fight this fight.”