NC’s innovative high schools stand out with few dropouts

March 3, 2011

46 of 106 schools had no students drop out in 2009-10

 25 schools had only one or two dropouts

 The combined dropout rate for all 106 schools was 2.3 percent, well below the state’s 3.75 percent rate

An analysis of the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s latest dropout data reveals fresh evidence that students in most schools affiliated with the North Carolina New Schools Project outperform traditional high schools. Nearly half the 106 high schools that are partners with NCNSP had no dropouts in 2009-10

Overall, innovative high schools in the state that are partners with the North Carolina New Schools Project remain a pacesetter on this key indicator of student engagement. Among all 106 innovative high schools that were open in 2009-10, their combined dropout rate for the school year was 2.3 percent, according to an NCNSP analysis of state data. That rate is down from 2.96 percent the year before and significantly lower than that the statewide rate of 3.75 percent.

Officials with the Department of Public Instruction reported to the State Board of Education today that the state’s overall dropout rate for 2009-10 – a decrease from 4.27 percent the previous year – was the lowest ever recorded in the state. The state’s dropout rate in 1999-2000 was 6.43 percent.

“North Carolina’s high schools are making solid progress in keeping students in school,” said Tony Habit, NCNSP president, “and innovative high schools demonstrate what is required to achieve the goal of 100 percent graduation rates. Making sure that students stay in school and graduate ready for college and career is a critical issue for every community and the future of our state.”


Among the findings in NCNSP’s analysis of the data are these:

 Nearly half the 106 innovative high schools (43 percent) had no dropouts in 2009-10.

 The 46 innovative schools with no dropouts last year represented more than half (61 percent) of the 75 high schools statewide that lost no students to dropping out.

 Two thirds (67 percent) of the 106 innovative schools had two or fewer dropouts.

 More than two thirds (71 percent) of the 100 innovative high schools that enrolled freshmen in 2009-10 lost no freshmen as dropouts.

 And of the 106 innovative high schools, 91 of them outperformed high schools in their districts or regions with similar socioeconomic composition.

 Among the 100 schools with freshman classes, 88 of them showed lower 9th grade dropout rates than their comparison schools.

Early college and STEM high schools continue to show particular strength in stemming dropouts. These facts stand out:

 More than half the 70 early colleges – 38 schools – had no dropouts.

 Sixty of the schools counted no freshmen dropouts, while nine of the other 10 schools lost just one student to dropping out. The other school lost two freshmen.

 The dropout rate for all early college high schools combined in 2009-10 was just 0.6 percent, slightly less than the 0.7 percent in 2008-09 and a continued improvement from the 1.38 percent rate for early college high schools in 2006-07.

Nine STEM schools, open for their third year in 2009-10 with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math, also lost few students as dropouts.

 Five of the nine schools had no dropouts, and six of the nine lost no students as dropouts from the 9th grade.

 The dropout rate for the STEM schools was 1.6 percent. Just 12 freshmen in all nine of the schools were reported to have dropped out, with most of those concentrated in two schools.

See attached list of NCNSP-affiliated schools with no dropouts in 2009-10

NCNSP-affiliated schools with no dropouts in 2009-10 Anson County Schools

Anson New Technology School

Bertie County Schools

Bertie Early College High

Brunswick County Schools

Brunswick County Early College

Cabarrus County Schools

Cabarrus-Kannapolis Early College

Catawba County Schools

Challenger Early College High

Newton Conover City Schools

Newton-Conover Health/Science High School

Cleveland County Schools

Cleveland Early College High School

Craven County Schools

Craven Early College High

Cumberland County Schools

Cross Creek Early College

Cumberland County Schools

Howard Health & Life Sciences High School

Davidson County Schools

Davidson Early College High School

Durham Public Schools

City of Medicine Academy

Durham Public Schools

Southern School of Engineering

Durham Public Schools

Hillside New Tech High School

Edgecombe County Public School

Edgecombe Early College High

Forsyth County Schools

Early College of Forsyth County

Granville County Schools

Granville Early College High

Guilford County Schools

Middle College at Bennett

Guilford County Schools

Middle College at GTCC – Greensboro

Guilford County Schools

Middle College at NC A&T State University

Weldon City Schools

Roanoke Valley Early College

Hertford County Schools

Hertford County Early College

Hoke County Schools

SandHoke Early College High

Hyde County Schools

Hyde County Early College High

Iredell-Statesville Schools

Collaborative College for Technology and Leadership

Iredell-Statesville Schools

Visual and Performing Arts Center

Jackson County Schools

Blue Ridge Early College

Jackson County Schools

Jackson County Early College

Johnston County Schools

Johnston County Early College Academy

Lenoir County Public Schools

Lenoir County Early College High

Madison County Schools

Madison Early College High

Mitchell County Schools

Mayland Early College

New Hanover County Schools

Wilmington Early College High

Richmond County Schools

Richmond Early College High

Rutherford County Schools

Rutherford Early College High

Sampson County Schools

Sampson Early College High

Stokes County Schools

Stokes County Early College High

Surry County Schools

Surry Early College HS of Design

Vance County Schools

Vance County Early College

Warren County Schools

Warren Early College High

Warren County Schools

Warren New Tech High

Wayne County Public Schools

Wayne Early/Middle College High

Wayne County Public Schools

Wayne School of Engineering

Wilkes County Schools

Wilkes Early College High

Wilson County Schools

Wilson Early College Academy

Yadkin County Schools

Yadkin Early College