The Coeur d’Alene School District’s dropout rate continued to edge downward in the 1996-97 school year, district officials announced this week.
Statewide, Idaho’s 20 percent dropout rate is among the nation’s highest. But Coeur d’Alene’s rate has declined steadily, from 12 percent several years ago, to 9 percent in the 1995-1996 school year, and down again last year to 6 percent.
Judy Drake, director of secondary education, attributed the dropout decline to additional activities for students since the opening of a second high school two years ago.
Now, there are twice as many opportunities for students to get involved in debate or music, for example.
“That has made quite a difference,” Drake said.
Initiatives such as The Freshman Connection also have helped. The program encourages new high school students to get involved early.
They are assigned high school mentors who visit their classrooms, answer questions and help direct them to the resources they need.
There’s also After School Academy, offering students a positive, not punitive, opportunity to stay after school once a week for help with their studies, she added.
Additionally, the district’s career pathways program helps students understand how the courses they are taking will help them in the real world.
“If they begin to focus, they understand there’s a reason why I’m taking a particular course,” Drake said.
Total enrollment dropped from 2,422 to 2,266 last year, down 3 percent from the prior year. Those numbers were shared with school board trustees at a Monday evening meeting.
In other district news, board member Tim Olson submitted his resignation, because he’ll be moving his family to Boise in the fall.
Olson served on the board from 1989 to 1992 and was elected again in May 1995. His current term runs until 1998.
Interested patrons living in Zone 3 - west of Lincoln Way and U.S. Highway 95 and north of the Spokane River - should submit applications to the board by Aug. 4. Interviews are tentatively set for Aug. 11.
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