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Yuma High dropout rate reaches lowest in district

For the first time since Yuma Union High School District added a sixth school in 2007, Yuma High School boasts the lowest dropout rate in the district.

According to Arizona Department of Education Accountability and Research data, the district achieved a 1.35 percent dropout rate for the 2019-20 school year; the third year in a row the dropout rate has declined. Yuma High School reached an unprecedented low of 0.58 percent.

“It’s a big deal for us,” YHS Principal Mike Fritz said. “We have a lot of at-risk students at Yuma High due to socioeconomic factors. Supporting all of our students is a ‘round the clock, team effort.”

While it has steadily declined since the school’s rate of 7.7 percent in 2010-11, it is only the second time in the last 13 years it has dropped below 1 percent. It is also the second lowest dropout rate in the district over that 13-year span. San Luis High School reached a 0.51 percent dropout rate in 2018-19.

“I truly cannot think of a more rewarding indicator,” YUHSD Superintendent Gina Thompson said. “We certainly want it to be at zero, but keeping students in school is critical work and when we say ‘EVERY’ student this is what we mean. Getting to this point has been a combination of the hard work and dedication of our dropout prevention specialists, counselors, teachers, and all of our stakeholders. They make an incredible difference in the lives of our students.”

All YUHSD campuses employ a dropout prevention specialist as part of their respective guidance counseling departments. The group of Yescina Cuming at Cibola, Monique Slaughter at Gila Ridge, Chris Reese at Kofa, Rigoberto Conde at San Luis, Nancy Dolezal at Vista, and Brenda Smith at Yuma have been nationally recognized and have presented about their strategies and successes in various education conferences across Arizona.

Yuma High’s dropout rate was 0.90 percent in 2018-19. Attendance taking protocols are closely monitored and audited by ADE to ensure that Local Education Agencies are meeting expectations of the state’s education body.

Eric Patten