From the Desk of Judge Bob Hughey
In 2010 we recognized an issue with high school dropout rates in Canadian County schools. Half of the six high schools in our county had a four year dropout rate that was above the state average. The Children’s Justice Center developed a truancy program to help the schools deal with this problem, and this program has been very successful. This program has been a coordinated effort of the Children’s Justice Center, the Canadian County Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney Mike Field’s office, and the schools.
Reducing truancy and dropout rates helps everyone. The schools cannot teach a student unless that student is in school. Also, a small portion of the schools’ funding is based on the number of students attending school. By increasing the number of students attending, the school’s funding is increased.
Students who don’t complete high school generally have lower paying jobs. There are also a number of studies that show that if a student does not complete they are more likely to serve time in prison as an adult and more likely to be on governmental assistance. It helps society in general when students complete high school.
Recently the Oklahoma Department of Education released statistics for the graduating classes of 2015. This reflects the number of students from that class who dropped out of school at some point during the four years of high school. All six high schools in Canadian County have seen a reduction in the percentage of students dropping out of school. All six high schools now have a dropout rate below the state average. Three of the county’s high schools have a dropout rate of 0% for the 2015 class. That means that for their 2015 graduating class, not a single student is reported to have dropped out of school from 9th grade to high school graduation. That is amazing.
The three schools with no high school dropouts are Piedmont, Calumet and Union City. For the 2010 graduating class, Piedmont saw 6.3% of its students dropped out during high school. Union City had a dropout rate of 14.8% and Calumet was at 5%. All three of those schools have seen their dropout rate go to zero.
Piedmont High School (2010) 6.3% (2015) 0.0%
Union City High School (2010) 14.8% (2015) 0.0%
Calumet High School 2010) 5.0% (2015) 0.0%
El Reno High School (2010) 12.6% (2015) 3.1%
Mustang High School (2010) 13.0% (2015) 7.6%
Yukon High School (2010) 7.1% (2015) 6.2%
Every high school in the county has seen improvement. In 2010 El Reno had a dropout rate of 12.6%, above the state average. By 2015, its dropout rate had been reduced to 3.1%, less than half of the 2015 state average. In addition, the state also compares each high school to similar schools. El Reno’s group of similar schools had a dropout rate of over 10%, more than 3 times the rate for El Reno.
Mustang High School had a dropout rate in 2010 of 13%. That has now been reduced in 2015 to 7.6%. Yukon’s rate has been lowered from 7.1% in 2010 to 6.2%.
The class of 2015 was the first class to complete all four years of high school after the truancy program was created. And the numbers speak for themselves. This program has had a positive impact of the number of kids attending school and has lowered the high school dropout rate in Canadian County.