JCPS tries to solve rising dropout numbers - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS tries to solve rising dropout numbers

It's a disturbing statistic: One in four Jefferson County Public School students doesn't graduate from high school in four years.

Today, the mayor and JCPS superintendent gathered more than 400 people to try to solve the problem.

One Louisville high school dropout said why he and his peers left school and who's to blame.

"I struggled all through school and I eventually just got frustrated and dropped out," said former student, Daniel Shaw.

Daniel Shaw says he's like many other dropouts. Problems at home made learning at school even more difficult. Daniel's family moved so many times during his teens, he went to four different high schools. He encountered some things that led his classmates to give up. Like, "parties, drugs, alcohol," according to Shaw.

"Dropouts is more than costing the individual. It costs our whole community in our productivity, in the quality of life," said JCPS Superintendent Sheldon Berman.

As Berman gets ready for his second school year as superintendent, he and Mayor Abramson have gathered government, business, and education leaders to help reach the district's goal to cut the number of dropouts in half within 10 years.

"So it's up to us to literally do all we can to keep these youngsters in school, keep them engaged, keep them interested," said Mayor Abramson.

In a survey this year, 300 Louisville teens and young adults revealed common reasons for dropping out.

They include getting in trouble, boredom in school, not being able to keep up with the work, poverty, and becoming a parent.

"The things we talked about here, smaller class size, counselor-student relationships; we don't have the resources to provide the kinds of intervention and the kinds of conditions that would best support a higher graduation rate," said Berman.

Daniel is now 24, trying to get his GED to go to college, and learning about construction work.

"Now I have a lot better attitude than I did when I was 17," said Shaw.

"I snuck around a lot, and my parents didn't know what I was doing, so maybe if they would've paid attention more, I might have succeeded a little bit better," said Shaw.

So what's the solution?

JCPS wants more volunteers to mentor students. Thirteen schools will have a campus nurse to monitor health problems, which can lead to absences and ultimately, dropouts.

The mayor and superintendent will prioritize other ideas in the coming weeks.

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