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Vista dropout rate at lowest mark in school history

The Vista High School dropout rate dropped nearly 20 percent across two school years and is currently at 5.77 percent, the lowest in school history. 

In 2020-21, a year after the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vista’s dropout rate was 23.24 percent. A year later, at 5.77 percent, it is hovering close to the Arizona state average of 5.4 percent.

“The system we created, the support of an entire team, and the constant communication from various departments helped Vista get to the rate we achieved together.” Vista High School dropout prevention specialist Arisbey Garcia said. 

The 2021-22 school year was Garcia’s first year as the dropout prevention specialist at VHS. Garcia works with dropout prevention specialists from the other Yuma Union High School District schools, counselors, teachers, other staff members, and Vista Principal Brett Surguine.

“We developed a system, where I knew I could go to anyone on the team for help and support,” Garcia said. “Without the help of everyone involved, the 5.77 percent dropout rate would not have been possible.”

As a dropout prevention specialist, Garcia works with the team at Vista to provide the best support to each student individually, conducts home visits, makes daily phone calls, sends out multiple forms of communication to the families, and works with others in YUHSD to provide alternative schooling options if the current one does not fit the students’ needs. 

“If Vista staff is helping students stay motivated and stay in the course in any small way, then we are succeeding,” Vista High School Principal Brett Surguine said. “I'm encouraged by our students' resilience and we will keep working hard to keep them in school, working toward graduation.”

Lesley Avila