Other Programs Cut Dropout Rate

The South Bay Edition contained an article on the decline in public school dropout rates in the South Bay area (Times, May 17). The article appropriately focused on the efforts schools are making to assist students at risk through special programs and counseling services.

However, in reporting on the Palos Verdes Unified School District, the story, while noting an improvement in the district's dropout rate, failed to give well-deserved credit for this improvement to the success of the district's continuation high school program at Rancho del Mar and the special work of a community-based program, Project EGO, which assists students on a one-on-one basis.

Instead, the article only cited declining enrollment as a factor in lowering the district's dropout rate. Readers could view the improvement in the district's dropout rate as simply a byproduct of enrollment decline, rather than as a result of target programs and staff efforts. In fact, in my conversations with a Times reporter, I emphasized the positive results of the Rancho del Mar program and the work of the Project EGO volunteers.

The concern regarding students at risk and potential high school dropouts is one which is being addressed throughout the state. The state Legislature, business and industry have joined the schools in seeking effective programs to assist these young people.

The record shows that the school districts in the South Bay have developed effective programs and strategies aimed at keeping young people in school and helping them overcome problems which impact school attendance. Palos Verdes is among those districts and the Board of Education, administration, teachers and counselors deserve recognition for their efforts and success.

NANCY MAHR

Staff-Community-Legislative Relations Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District

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