June 24. 2014 10:47PM

Manchester school officials tout decreasing dropout rate

New Hampshire Union Leader

MANCHESTER — School officials are touting preliminary numbers that indicate the district was able to cut in half the number of students who dropped out this past school year.

There were 104 dropouts at the three high schools as of June 1, compared to 211 at this time last year, according to the district’s calculations, which were presented in a press release and before the school board this week.

Assistant Superintendent David Ryan told the board’s Curriculum and Instruction Committee on Tuesday that he was “very hopeful these numbers will hold.”

The state Department of Education finalizes and releases dropout data for all districts in the state in February for the previous year.

Manchester has long pulled down the state’s vaunted low dropout rate, with a comparatively high number of students leaving school.

Ryan told the school board on Monday that he believes the lower number of dropouts this past school year reflects the earnest efforts of administrators.

“I think a lot of the credit goes to high school principals and their counselors,” he said. “What they’ve been able to do is create alternative education programs for each student ... The traditional classroom doesn’t work for every student. We anticipate working through the summer so students who came back to us, stay with us.”

In a statement released Monday, Superintendent Debra Livingston called the district’s dropout rate an ongoing “challenge.”

“High school principals, assistant principals and guidance staff organized a strong outreach effort to encourage students to complete their high school educations, and our numbers since last summer are showing results,” she said.