Jackson County is one of four counties in North Carolina that has decreased its dropout rate the most, according to a report recently released by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
Jackson County’s dropout rate fell from 4.43 percent in 2008-09 to 1.99 in 2009-10. That state’s average dropout rate is 2.55 percent, the lowest rate ever recorded in North Carolina.
Steve Jones, Jackson County’s assistant superintendent, said he couldn’t point to “any one thing that made the difference, but rather a hundred little things designed to meet kids where they are in life and take them as far as they can go.” He did point to two of Jackson County’s student retention initiatives – the Bridge Program which targets 9-12 graders, and Momentum Victory, which is geared toward 7-9 graders.
The Bridge Program is funded by Southwestern Commission’s Workforce Investment Act Youth Program and works one-on-one with high school age students to keep them in school, help them graduate, and move on with their lives. The Momentum Victory Program is funded through a grant from the General Assembly and is dedicated to early intervention and prevention among middle-schoolers and early high school age students.