Despite a big drop in its high school drop-out rate in recent years, the Davenport School District is calling in outside help to push the rate down even further. The district has hired a Utah-based non-profit group called Graduation Alliance.
Davenport Superintendent Art Tate says the district has done all it can to adapt programs and work with young people who have dropped out. “There are some students, just because of their situation, perhaps someone in their family is sick, perhaps they have to work in order to be a main provider for the entire family,” Tate says. “It could be some people just have an aversion to the school system.”
Graduation Alliance is contacting former Davenport students, offering them the chance to earn a diploma by taking classes online. Tate says other superintendents are giving him “glowing” reports about the program’s successes. Another benefit is that the cost for the district is what he calls “revenue neutral.” “When they enroll a student, what we have to do is give Graduation Alliance whatever we get from the state,” Tate says, “so whatever it is, $6,400 or $6,500 this year, we will turn that over to Graduation Alliance.”
Davenport’s dropout rate is now nearly 6 percent, down from 10 percent just three years ago. The eastern Iowa city has the third-largest school district in the state with 16-thousand students.
By Herb Trix at WVIK, Rock Island