Dropout Rate Rising
Melanie Richter, director of student services, has spent 37-years as an educator and she says it's her job to provide a learning experience as unique as the students she teaches.
"There's a story behind every young person that drops out of high school. One of the things we do as a district is look at and speak to each one of those individuals," Richter said.
Principal Chris Ferguson says Mexico's dropout rate has hovered around 4 percent for years. Last year it jumped to nearly 6 percent, the highest rate in the last 17 years.
Principal Ferguson thinks the dropout rate is simply a spike, but teachers and administrators are working to keep their kids in school. One student who dropped out her junior year said she needed a different way to finish.
"I had my son my sophomore year. I finished my sophomore year and they basically said I had to go the whole eight hours. There was no way to get around that except for to work and I wanted to spend time with my son. There was no alternative," Steffany McCain, Mexico educational center graduate, explained.
McCain attended Mexico's alternative program to succeed in its smaller class rooms. The district is hoping to expand similar programs into the middle school for prevention and focus on freshmen before they reach the point of dropping out. The education center has more than 40 students enrolled in the school this year.