GREENVILLE – The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction recently released data from the 2015-2016 school year regarding district outcomes related to dropout rates, school crime and violence rates, as well as short-term and long-term suspension and expulsion rates.
Pitt County Schools had a 23% decrease in the number of school dropouts from the 2014-2015 school year (195) to the 2015-2016 school year (150). Overall, Pitt County Schools has the third largest 3-year dropout rate decrease in the state. “To help keep students from dropping out of school, our focus has been on keeping students - from kindergarten through high school graduation - engaged in learning and to minimize barriers to their academic success,” says Dr. Ethan Lenker, Superintendent of Pitt County School. “We have wonderful teachers, administrators, school counselors, graduation coaches, and many other staff who play a significant part in helping each student feel connected and a sense of belonging in our schools. While we are proud of the significant progress made, even a single student dropping out of school would be one too many.”
With regard to instances of state reportable instances of crime or violence, Pitt County Schools saw a 27% decrease from the 2014-2015 school year (89) to the 2015-2016 school year (65). “We must continue to maintain a safe and orderly learning environment for our students,” Lenker says. “This data demonstrates that we are making progress in keeping our schools and our students safe, but we must remain vigilant and continue to enlist the assistance of our parents and our community in this effort.”
While Pitt County Schools had 25 long-term suspensions and no expulsions for the 2015-2016 school year, the district reported over 9,000 short-term suspensions in grades K-12. Pitt County Schools is currently in the process of implementing Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports, or PBIS, throughout every school in the district as a means to address student behavior and reduce the number of short-term suspensions from school. Additionally, the district is continuing to strengthen its support of alternative learning programs such as Pitt Academy while also exploring other strategies, such as restorative justice practices, as a means of helping redirect misconduct by students with repeated offenses.