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Yakima schools see staggering dropout rate

Yakima schools see staggering dropout rate
YAKIMA, Wash. – Susi Figueroa is a senior at Davis High School. She's just months away from graduating but says earning her diploma wasn't easy.

"In elementary, I couldn't speak English and middle school I had a hard time learning things,” Susi said.

Susa says she was the first child in her family to go to school in America. However, she overcame her obstacles.

"The struggles motivated me. I would just go to the school library and say I need help, somebody has to help me,” Susi said.

Susi says unfortunately many of her fellow students did not have the same ambition. They dropped out before graduating.

I pulled the latest numbers on Yakima's graduation and dropout rate. It turns out in the 2011-2012 school year, almost 25% of 4-year students dropped out. That’s almost three times higher than the state average in 2011.

“I mean it doesn't sting,” said Yakima Schools Superintendent, said Dr. Elaine Beraza.” It's a challenge but it's also an opportunity.”

The numbers show Yakima students might not be doing so well in the standard classroom, however the numbers indicate the district is seeing some improvements on line.

The 4-year graduation rate is down at Davis and Eisenhower High School. It improved at Stanton Academy. However, nearly double the amount of on line students graduated this year versus last.
Still, the district is dealing with a staggering dropout rate.

“I think we have to focus on getting more kids to graduate and not get so hung up on the numbers that it impedes our work,” Beraza said.

Susi says lowering that dropout rate might be as simple as letting students know what resources are available to them.

"People don't really know much about what's out there. There's help, but people don't know about it. You have to find it,” Susi said.

Some of the increase in dropout rates is because of the state’s new formula where transfer and GED students get classified as dropouts.
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