By WRAL Tech Wire STEM News

RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina’s growing number of innovative secondary schools continues to demonstrate strong results by ensuring that students want to stay in school, according to North Carolina New Schools Project (NCNSP).

The latest dropout data released this month by the State Board of Education shows that schools developed in partnerships with NCNSP lost comparatively few students last school year.

Key findings in the state data for 2010-2011 include: 37 NCNSP-affiliated schools lost no students to dropping out; 73 of the schools lost no more than two students as dropouts; 78 schools lost no students from 9th grade; and the 106 schools had a combined dropout rate of 2 percent, compared to 3.43 percent for the state as a whole.

The annual dropout rate measures the percentage of students who quit school in a given year. Student attrition also is measured by the graduation rate, which tracks students from 9th grade to graduation four years later.

NCNSP President Tony Habit noted that students drop out for many reasons, some of which are very challenging for schools to address, but these numbers show that schools that really engage students with relevant instruction and supportive relationships are the key to dropout prevention.

“Students who want to be in school and see a reason for being there don’t quit,” he said. “They stay.”

The state’s 71 early college high schools in 2010-11, representing most the 106 innovative high schools, had a combined dropout rate of just 0.54 percent – with 32 of the schools losing no students as dropouts. With a combined enrollment of 12,241 students, early colleges last year lost just 66 students to dropping out.

Nine STEM-focused schools that were developed in 2007 as turnaround strategies for low-performing high schools also showed strong results.

Three of the nine schools had no dropouts, and four others lost no more than three students. Together, the nine schools had a combined dropout rate of 1.6 percent.

The overall NCNSP dropout rate includes two dozen “redesigned” schools that the statewide public-private partnership helped develop but was no longer supporting in 2010-2011. The combined dropout rate for those schools, most of which were created by subdividing large, comprehensive campuses into smaller schools, was about 4.2 percent.

For a complete list of NCNSP-affiliated schools with no dropouts in 2010-2011, visit

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