Not the easiest path: facts about dropping out

Not the easiest path: facts about dropping out

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It’s been a bad day. You bombed a test, had your fifth tardy to second period, got in a fight with a teacher and forgot two homework assignments.

Some students joke and say “I’m dropping out of high school,” after bad situations occur.

“I was just sick and tired of school telling me to do everything all the time and I thought it was becoming pointless and super repetitive,” senior Azlynn Woodward said.

Senior Jay Greer said he has also thought about dropping out.

“English is frustrating,” Greer said. “Sometimes doing those papers all the time gets a little tough when you have to work and maintain your own house.”

What students don’t know is the process it actually takes to drop out or get a General Education Diploma.

First off, students have to be 18 in order to take the GED test or drop out of school and have to have papers signed by parents, a counselor and the principal.

“If they are a Bellevue West student and they are 18 or older, definitely [the counselors] would talk to them and make sure this is the right choice for them before they drop out,” counselor Molly Moore said. “If they have a lot of extra credits they still need to earn and they don’t see themselves staying here another year then we would maybe say ‘oh, that might be a better option for you,’ but it’s the last resort usually.”

Students must take 10 orientation sessions, each five hours long, before taking the GED test. For students at West, these courses can be taken through Metropolitan Community College.

“I think that [getting a GED] is frowned upon in society but I think they have their own reasons to do it,” Woodward said. “If they feel like that’s what they need to do then they should be allowed to do it.”

Bellevue used to have an adult education program but they no longer have it. Instead, West has Project Recovery.

“It’s only from seventh hour through 4:30. You can’t get as many credits as you would get during the day because they just don’t have as much time but that’s pretty much our only alternative program,” Moore said.

West also has the S Cubed (Student Support Services) room located in room 113. Teachers monitor the room and students can be assigned to work on their credits throughout the school day.

“The whole goal is to help them make sure they are getting some education and be able to work on a class,” Moore said.

Woodward said she doesn’t feel the school pushes kids to graduate until they bring up the option of dropping out.

“I don’t think they talk to us about pushing through and sticking out until the end,” Woodward said.

Students under 18 must have a “legitimate reason” before dropping out. ” For example, a student may experience financial hardships or a medical illness backed up by a doctor.

“If they are out 20 days then there will be a letter sent to them from the county attorney and if they continue to stay out of school then they can actually go to court from that and they can get in trouble; mostly parent are going to get in trouble,” counselor secretary Donna Pearson said.

Moore said the main reason for students not graduating on time would be from lack of credits. Sometimes, they don’t want to continue on past four years and either drop or take the GED.

“We don’t have very many of these situations. Pretty much all of our students graduate on time,” Moore said.

Greer said he thinks the school does a good job of getting students to graduate. He’s seen many students who didn’t think they would finish make it to graduation.

Last year, the graduation rate sat at 94.87%.

If a student thought about dropping out, the counselors would discourage it, especially if they are close to graduating and can finish within a reasonable amount of time; one more semester or even with summer school.

“Getting your GED is fine but people that drop out and don’t do anything afterwards, I don’t see them being successful in the future,” Greer said.

After dropping out, the school still keeps transcripts if a student were to come back and want to finish school before age 21 or use their transcripts to apply to other programs. West keeps track of the amount of credits earned but class rank and GPA usually fall off.

“We can’t drop them unless they enroll into another school or if they are going to get their GED.” Pearson said.

Moore said the GED is an option for students who think they won’t graduate.

“It’s better than nothing,” Moore said.

Woodward suggests to students to do what they feel is right and to not let others determine what is best for them.

Greer’s advice is to keep pushing through school and try hard.

Moore’s biggest thing is to make sure student have no regrets and do what is best for them and their future.

“Stay in school and get your high school diploma. It’s your best option,” Moore said.

Brooke Riley
Co Editor-in-Chief