The Darlington County School District lowered its high school dropout rate by 0.2 percentage points in 2009 – 2010 from 1.4 percent to 1.2 percent, the seventh lowest rate in the state among South Carolina’s 85 public school districts, according to data released by the S.C. Department of Education.
South Carolina’s high school dropout rate for grades nine through 12 decreased from 3.4 percent to 2.9 percent in 2009 – 2010.
Since 2006 – 2007, Darlington County’s dropout rate for grades nine through 12 has declined from 2.7 percent to 1.2 percent, according to State Department figures. The state’s rate for the same period has dropped from 3.8 percent to 2.9 percent.
“We’re very excited about the improvement in our dropout rate,” said Superintendent of Education Dr. Rainey Knight. “This is one additional factor that shows we’re doing a much better job helping our students stay in school and continue their education until they graduate from high school. I’m very proud of the job our teachers are doing.”
A cursory glance at what Superintendent Rainey Knight told the Florence Morning News shows at least one strategy in effect: Giving education professionals respect and praise for their work.
I wish the Morning News had focused more on Darlington's successful strategies than it did. Rather, it asked for input from General Mick Zais, state su-pretendent of education, and published a paragraph of his talking points.
As Superintendent Knight is the chief educational officer of her district, and her district appears to be making strides in this area, I hope the Morning News will look for another opportunity soon to ask Knight, and the education professionals in her schools, for more information about their most effective dropout prevention strategies.