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More Turlock students staying in school

POSTED December 10, 2010 11:42 p.m.

Keeping kids in school is a continuous goal for local educators. To accomplish that goal, the Turlock Unified School District has implemented a number of initiatives in the past few years to address high school drop outs including curriculum assessments, pacing calendars and benchmarks. TUSD’s hard work has made a difference, according to the newly released 2008/2009 California Dropout and Graduation Rates report.

“Overall, the district is showing improvement,” said Sonny Da Marto, TUSD superintendent. “Our rates are better than the county and state rates and to me that’s pretty dog gone good. All the initiatives are showing great improvement.”

The district as a whole has decreased their drop out numbers by 17 students, according to the adjusted grade 9 through 12 dropout count for 2008/2009. They have decreased their dropout numbers by 0.3 percent, graduating 96.8 percent of their students in 2008/2009 compared to 96.5 of their students in 2007/2008.

Turlock High School and Roselawn Continuation High School have even decreased their dropout numbers in the 2008/2009 school year with Freedom Education Center keeping the same number of dropouts.

Pitman High School, however, fell behind increasing their dropout rates by 0.4 percent, which is eight students in the 2008/2009 school year according to the adjusted dropout numbers, which includes reenrolled students and lost transfers.

According to the raw reported drop out numbers provided by the 2008/2009 Dropout and Graduation Rates report, Pitman’s dropout rates have almost doubled not counting reenrolled dropouts plus lost transfers. Those reported numbers are noted as 32 dropouts for the 2008/2009 school year with 17 dropouts in the 2007/2008 school year.

Throughout the district Turlock High has seen the most improvement, decreasing dropout rates by 0.8 percent for 2008/2009. Turlock High has kept 18 more students in their school compared to 2007/2008.

“We have kept more students in school because of our advisement and number of faculty coaches,” said Dana Trevethan, Turlock High principal. “They are keeping an extra eye on our students.”

Four years ago, Turlock High implemented an advisement plan and they are finally seeing the results.

There are 114 advisers per 21 to 22 students that meet with each student 15 minutes a day, Trevethan said.

“It is 15 minutes a day where teachers are building relationships with students and connecting them to Turlock High School,” she said. “Kids are more apt and willing to learn when they are being taught by people that really care.”

Compared to Turlock High’s attendance in 2005/2006, with 61,017 unverified period absences, to 2008/2009 with 38,146 unverified period absences, Trevethan said their advising is really keeping the students in class and in school.

“School offers stability and routine for students,” she said. “That is why more students are staying here in school.”

Denair Unified School District, however, has seen an increase in dropouts.

According to their adjusted grade 9 through 12 dropout count, DUSD as a whole has increased their dropouts by 10 students with most of those coming from the district’s Denair Charter Academy.

For the 2008/2009 adjusted dropout count numbers, Denair Charter Academy had 16 students drop out compared to four students in the 2007/2008 school year, resulting in a 6.5 increase in dropouts, according to the California Department of Education 2008/2009 Graduation and Dropouts report.

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.

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