Pasco high schools to focus efforts on dropout prevention
A decline in Pasco County's high school graduation rate - from 79.2 percent to 78.6 percent - has district leaders taking another look at how to keep teens in school and on track.
"We must begin this new school year with a renewed focus on drop out prevention/intervention services and the programs put in place to increase our graduation rate," superintendent Kurt Browning wrote in an Aug. 5 memo to high school principals.
He said he wants all graduation enhancement and student support teachers to be working solely on dropout prevention issues. They should not participate in credit recovery or any other issues that take their attention away from their primary objective, Browning told the principals.
Their work should include identifying at least 100 students who could be considered at risk because of their grades, attendance, discipline or a combination of these. The district's early warning system is designed to help determine which students need help most.
They then should monitor these students' work, collaborating with classroom teachers and meet daily with the students to keep them moving forward. They also would keep parents aware of how their children are doing.
Browing expressed hope that, if these steps are done properly, the need for makeup work, often the bane of struggling high schoolers, would decline and the graduation rate would rise.
His message comes on the heels of his back-to-school greeting to teachers, in which he discusses the need to get the district moving in the right direction after poor results on the most recent state assessments. See his comments below.