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Town's dropout rate improves

Most area schools doing better, regionals lost some ground

March 03, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — The school district took another step in the right direction this week when the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education revealed its annual dropout report.

Although still higher than the state average and all nearby communities, Southbridge's rate fell by two full points to 5.2 percent, the largest drop in the area.

School Committee Chairman John Jovan Jr. attributes much of the improvement to a variety of programs run by Principal William Bishop, including a credit recovery program and others by which students can get extra help. Even at 5.2 percent, today's rate is about half what it was three years ago, while the high school population has grown since then.

"It's encouraging that it's a downward trend," Jovan said, admitting he had not yet seen the report. "… It really has been a reflection on the fact Bill has done a great job with his staff."

Next door at Tantasqua Regional School District, Superintendent Daniel Durgin isn't worried that his dropout rate more than doubled — from the region's lowest 2008 rate of 0.7 percent to just 1.9 percent in 2009 (now third lowest).

"It's still below 2 percent — you're talking just a few students," Durgin said, adding, "I don't like one kid dropping out, to be honest with you."

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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