Goal: Dropping the Dropout Rate

By  | 

Brittany Stennis has seen it. She says she knows there are a lot of kids who were in her freshman class at Meridian High School who aren't in her senior class, and it frustrates her.

"Most people just don't care. They don't care about it anymore, so I feel like it's a problem to me," Stennis said.

Meridian High officials say the same thing. That's why for the past four years, they've had a program in place they say has dramatically affected their graduation rate.

The program is called Extended Day. It allows students who are struggling to stay late and get tutoring from teachers who are also staying late. School officials say they're pleased with how well it has worked.

"We've seen students' grades increase and we've seen our graduation rate increase since we implemented the program," said counselor Jennifer Layton.

But school officials say they're not satisfied yet. Their goal is to virtually eliminate dropouts.

"It's a continuous process. It's a continuous process," said principal R.D. Harris. "You never stop."

But Brittany Stennis says she's not sure there is anything else that can be done.

"I still don't see why they're dropping out, because they got help. It's just them basically," said Stennis.

But school officials say they won't be giving up any time soon.

Mississippi has one of the highest teen dropout rates in the nation, ranking 45th.

Percentage of Teens Who are Dropouts:

Mississippi - 11%
Alabama - 10%
Louisiana - 12%
Arkansas - 6%
U.S. - 8%