Fewer high school students drop out in Grand Valley

Fewer students dropped out of alternative and district high schools in the Grand Valley two school years ago, according to data released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Education.

An increase in middle school dropouts, however, caused the overall dropout rate to match the previous year’s 3.2 percent rate in School District 51.

District 51 students are not allowed to permanently leave school until the age of 17, but the state relies on school districts to report anytime a student moves, goes to a private school or begins a home-school program.

If the district fails to report that information, the student is counted as a dropout.

District 51 spokesman Jeff Kirtland said the district is working to improve student documentation, but sometimes the district is not aware of a student’s next step unless the student’s new school requests school records or the student announces he or she will be home-schooled. Other kids just leave school illegally.

Every District 51 high school lowered its dropout rate between the school years ending in 2007 and 2008.

The dropout rate at R-5 High School fell from 26.2 percent to 21.4 percent in that time, and district-operated charter school Independence Academy chopped its dropout rate between those years from 3.2 percent to 0.8 percent.


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