Washington’s Dropout Factories

Patricia Hawke

In 2007 there were twenty-two schools in Washington State that are considered “dropout factories.” A school is considered a dropout factory when more than 40 percent of entering freshmen dropout before their senior year.
What makes kids drop out? Most “Dropout Factories” in the U.S. are in high poverty areas and have a high number of minorities. In schools such as Arlington who have a 30 percent dropout rate don’t have either of these common factors for kids dropping out. Arlington is located in a nice suburban area with an eighty-seven percent of its students Caucasian.
They began implementing programs in 2007 to help reduce the dropout rate of students in the Washington State. One was the Freshman Academy which helps kids who didn’t do too well in middle school get specialized counseling and extra help with homework and class work. This programmed is designed to get kids to do well in school to give them confidence that they can do well in school and they can graduate. Another program that was implemented was the Link Crew. The link crew is a buddy program ran by students to help kids make friends. Kids dropout less when they have friends tying them to the school.
Dropout prevention specialists have been hired by the schools as well. These specialists are huge on getting kids not to miss school. This is very important because the more school you miss, the more you get behind on your schoolwork, which in turn discourages kids to even finish it at all because of missing critical classroom discussions that would’ve made the homework/class work much easier. They are attempting to discourage this by having these specialists talk to the children and their parents door-door and getting the police department involved to stop the truancy.
If kids start doing well in school and are proud of coming home and showing their parents their report cards, this will lead to less dropout rates. If they have friends at school and are socially involved and are not missing school students will be motivated to stay in school. These programs have shown they work because just recently nine of the twenty-two schools have dropped off the “dropout factory” list.
In order to keep your kids from dropping out don’t let them miss school, make sure they are socially involved in their school and with their friends and get them tutoring if they struggle with any particular subject. These programs are working for Washington; let’s give all our children the same head start to a successful and rewarding academic experience!
Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit  Washington School Ratings and  Washington School Rankings