JCPS re-enrolls 103 students who previously dropped out - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS re-enrolls 103 students who previously dropped out

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Re-Enrollment of JCPS dropouts (Courtesy: JCPS) Re-Enrollment of JCPS dropouts (Courtesy: JCPS)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's a new law aimed at addressing dropouts in the state of Kentucky and since this summer, Jefferson County Public Schools has tracked down and re-enrolled approximately 100 students who had previously dropped out.

The data, which will be shared with the Jefferson County Board of Education at their 7 p.m. meeting at Westport Middle School, is the result of an ongoing effort to assist 16- and 17-year-old dropouts, who are now required to re-enroll in school.

Theresa Whitlow, a student response team coordinator with JCPS, said since the end of the 2014-15 year, the district has identified 217 dropouts and schools received a list of students needing to re-enroll as a result of Kentucky Senate Bill 97 (the law that raised the compulsory attendance age to 18).

As of Oct. 7, all but 83 students (of the 217) have either been re-enrolled in JCPS or another school district, Whitlow said. 

Inside JCPS, Whitlow said 62 signed up for an alternative school or online classes and 41 have returned to their resides schools. In addition, seven opted to home school and 24 were verified as enrolled in other schools outside of JCPS, she said.

At Monday's board meeting, officials will provide details of the district's dropout recovery plan, data on re-enrollments, procedures, and programs available to support those students moving forward.

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Whitlow said if a school was unable to contact the student (and his or her parent) contact by phone, mail and home visit, the district followed up with identified students by conducting home visits, phone calls and sending letters.

During the summer, district officials assisted students and families with the re-enrollment process and continued to search for identified students not registered or enrolled.

In addition, Jefferson County High School -- an alternative program available for adults and youth 16 years old or older who have withdrawn from high school -- contacted students not returning to their resides school to encourage enrollment at JCHS or the district's eSchool.

Whitlow said the majority of students who have re-enrolled are attending JCHS or Liberty High School.

As for the 83 students who have not been re-enrolled, Whitlow said the district has begun the court referral process for students and families who do not enroll and are in violation of Senate Bill 97.

Of those 83 students: 49 are 17 years old, 27 are 16 years old and seven are under the age of 16. 

"We are trying to do all that we can to support these students," Whitlow told WDRB News. "Many of these students are really far behind and have situations at home that are very complicated. Regardless, we are trying to connect them to one of several options to help them finish their high school education."

Senate Bill 97, referred to as the "Graduate Kentucky" bill, was passed by the General Assembly and signed into law in 2013. It phases in an increase in the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18, amending the school attendance law created in 1934.

The “Graduation Bill” made adoption voluntary until 55 percent -- 96 of the state’s school districts -- adopted the policy. 

Since that threshold has been reached, the remainder of Kentucky’s districts must now adopt and implement a compulsory attendance age of 18 no later than the 2017-18 school year.

The JCPS school board decided to implement the compulsory attendance age of 18 at the start of the 2015-16 year.

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Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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