Greensboro, N.C. - If you drop out of school, you're more likely to end up in prison, and on welfare. A&T researchers estimate dropouts cost us about $169 million every year.
But, Guilford County Schools are trying to change that. The district's dropout rate dropped almost 21 percent during the 2011-12 school year, compared to the previous year. Now, the county has the lowest dropout rate among the state's largest school districts.
How did they achieve this? Every high school has a drop-out prevention team that targets at risk students and works to make sure they graduate.
"I thought I wasn't going to finish," Dwayne Bears, an at-risk student at Andrews High School, said. "It was a lot on me. I didn't know what to do."
Dropout Prevention Specialist Kim Boggan works with students like Bears every day. "It's very challenging. I won't deny that. But, it's so rewarding in the end to see our students do well. We have so many that come in and think they can't do it. Then, to see them walk across the stage, it's priceless," she said.
The extra attention has turned Bears' life around. "It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I need to get better...I feel like somebody cares," he said.
Now, Bears will be the first person in his family to graduate from high school.
Dropout prevention team members meet with students, parents, teachers on a regular basis. They provide tutoring and access to online courses. In addition, they follow-up and monitor at-risk students, visiting them at home and at their jobs.
There is a lengthy report published by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction posted here. Check it out to see where how your child's school district compares.