Marion County Dropout Rates Drastically Improve - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Marion County Dropout Rates Drastically Improve

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Marion County's dropout rates have significantly declined in the past few years.

The district had 41 dropouts in the 2011-2012 school year. This is a 65 percent difference compared to the 2008-2009 school year when 119 students dropped out.

Superintendent Gary Price is proud of the higher retention rate, but his ultimate goal is for every student to graduate. 

"Marion County schools would like to see 100 percent of students graduate. We realize at this time that's not the direction we're headed, but we are headed in the right direction," Price said.

East Fairmont High School principal David Nuzum said 41 dropouts is still too many and that every year the school hopes to bring the dropout rate down by at least five percent.

Nuzum said students who aren't successful in school are the ones who are less likely to graduate become they become discouraged.

Price agreed with Nuzum, saying that students who don't think education will benefit them are unmotivated to stay in school.

"Students often don't have a real keen interest in school if they don't see a definite reason why they have to perform all these tasks, do all these assignments, trying to make all these grades," said Price.

East Fairmont High School implemented new programs to focus on each individual student, which allows them to pay extra attention to those who are doing poorly and most likely to dropout.

"We've looked at each kid individually. At the end of each grading period, we print out our list of students that had D's and F's and try to make contact with all their parents, talk to them about why their child is not succeeding," said Nuzum said.

Teachers are instructed to ask several questions about students who aren't succeeding in the classroom. Nuzum terms these questions as "the three w's" - "What did they fail?" "Why did they fail?" "What can we do to keep them from failing?"

Along with this more individualized system, students at East Fairmont High School meet with advisors every other week.

The school also has two guidance counselors and a mental health professional who comes in three days a week for students to consult with.

Some seniors say they would never consider dropping out of school. They attribute their motivation to the teachers and furthering their career.

"The teachers every day, you know, ask us how our lives have been and ask us how we're doing in and outside of school, and they want us to stay in school," said student Michael McCutchan.

"I wanted to stay in school because I want to have a job. I don't want to be flipping hamburgers the rest of my life," said student Mackenzie Pourbaix.

McCutchan plans on attending Fairmont State University next year and Pourbaix will be going to Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina.

If you're concerned about your child dropping out, superintendent Price suggests you speak with your local guidance counselor or attendance director.

To contact the Marion County attendance director, call (304)-367-2127.

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