Yukon makes strides in cutting dropout rates

Yukon school officials say they are working hard to keep students in school, and it appears their efforts are working.
Melissa Barlow, the principal at Yukon High School, said the number of students who are considered to have dropped out of school fell to 29 in 2018.
In 2016, that number was 52. It was 46 in 2015.
“It is is a very small portion of our population, but still something we work tremendously hard on,” Barlow said.
Barlow said the numbers are the latest available and include students who are home-school or who have left school in hopes of obtaining their general education development certificate.
In addition, any student who leaves school without graduating, even if they say they are moving to another district, can be considered to have dropped out if their records are not requested.
Most of the students who have dropped out were in their sophomore year. That is when 12 students left school. Seven left as juniors, six as seniors and three as freshman.
Barlow also broke the numbers down futher by saying that 19 of the students were taking special education classes, 11 were receiving free or reduced-priced lunches and one was Hispanic.
Barlow said the staff at the high school are making a concerted effort to keep students in school, whether it be through the Yukon Alternative Learning Experience (YALE) or other programs.
YALE, which is housed off the high school campus, allows students who fall behind an opportunity to catch up on credits quickly.
The district also offers a virtual classroom program called MOVE, which targets students who are long-term suspended and cannot attend normal classes.
MOVE stands for Millers Off-Campus Virtual Experience.
The program is meant to give those students a “physical classroom and teacher for support of the online curriculum.”
School officials say the program prevents suspended students from falling too far behind.
YALE has 65 seats available, and there is a waiting list, said Jody Pendleton, who heads the YALE program.
MOVE has about 35 seats available.
Besides those two programs, there are other options available, Barlow said.
Students can participate in Project Connect, which is based at the Canadian Valley Technology Center; the Canadian County Education Center, located at the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center as well as summer school programs..
Barlow said she meets weekly with principals, teachers and counselors to discuss students who are at risk of not grad-
uating.
They look at what options are available.
“Everyone in the room knows what is happening, all the supports are there and we can really hook those kids up with all the resources that we have,” Barlow said.
Thie high school also has an at-risk counselor who manages and monitors the students whose names are provided by the staff.
“She does a phenomenal job of working and tracking those kids and ensuring they have the resources they need to stay on target or get caught up,” she said.
As for students who plan to leave the school to get their GED, Barlow said she meets with them, as well as their parents, to go over all the resources that are available.
Barlow has to approve any high school-aged student who wants to seek the alternate diploma.
“It is very rare that we agree to that. For the most part, we try to get the students through the programs that we have,” she said.

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