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YUHSD dropout prevention team presents at national conference

seven men and women in front of white backdropYuma Union High School District’s Dropout Prevention Specialists presented at the 2023 National Dropout Prevention Conference in Orlando, Florida from Oct. 15-18. 

The three-day event included schools from around the United States and was designed, according to the conference’s website, to provide best practices, next practices, research, and practical strategies to the education professionals that serve at-risk and struggling students across multiple settings. 

"One of the greatest takeaways was being able to discover ways to foster a positive school climate and sense of belonging,” Gila Ridge High School Dropout Prevention Specialist David Reynoso said. “It has been proven that students are less likely to drop out if they feel connected to their school community. I am glad to say that the YUHSD mirrors that environment for our students."

The dropout rate for YUHSD schools has decreased for three consecutive years and has drawn high praise nationally. Their 2.14 percent overall dropout rate in 2022-23, including 0.97 percent for San Luis High School, is not only well below the state and national average, but is exceedingly low for a Title I school district. A district is eligible for federal Title 1 benefits when at least 40 percent of its students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

"Presenting at the National Dropout Prevention Conference is a milestone that we have been striving for since we returned from our very first conference in 2019,” Cibola High School Dropout Prevention Specialist Yescina Cuming said. “The challenge to present at this prestigious event came directly from our Superintendent, Tim Brienza. It was an honor to accomplish this goal and deliver to a national audience about the great work we are doing here at Yuma Union High School District. It was very encouraging to see how captivated and engaged the audience was throughout the presentation. Our district dropout rates and this presentation are a testament of our dedication to making a positive impact in our community in the field of dropout prevention."

All YUHSD campuses employ a Dropout Prevention Specialist as part of their respective guidance counseling departments. The group of Yescina Cuming at Cibola, David Reynoso at Gila Ridge, Edgardo Gonzalez at Kofa, Rigoberto Conde at San Luis, Arisbey Garcia at Vista, Chris Reese at Somerton, and Brenda Smith at Yuma High have been recognized both locally and nationally for their critical role in keeping students in school. 

Eric Patten