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Long County BoE expects graduation rate to drop
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The Long County graduation rate probably will drop due to a new federal formula for calculating figures, the board of education learned at its March 12 meeting.

Assistant Superintendent/Curriculum Director Dr. Glen Purcell told BoE members that past graduation rates were calculated using the lever rate, which allowed states the use of three different formulas. School systems chose the method that was most applicable to their district. The new cohort calculation system more readily counts students as dropouts than the lever rate.

When a student transfers schools, the child will be regarded as a dropout at his or her old school until the student’s old school receives documentation from the new school that the student has enrolled. Additionally, students who are withdrawn from school due to sickness or incarceration will be considered dropouts.

With the new method of calculation, just about every school in the state — including Long County High School — will see a decline in graduation rates, according to Purcell.

“This new method is more restrictive, but the numbers are truer,” he said.

Also at the March 12 meeting, federal programs director Dr. Kathy Simmons asked the board to approve hiring a new migrant paraprofessional to assist with instructional support at Walker Middle School. Simmons said that Art Carter, who currently provides the service for the high school, also is working at WMS. Hiring a new WMS paraprofessional would relieve Carter of some of his duties and allow him to provide better service to the students.

Simmons said there are approximately 100 migrant students in the system, and of that, around 35 are at WMS. Funding for the new position was approved through a Title I-C federal grant, she added. After a brief discussion, the board unanimously approved the request.

Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters told the board the yearly financial audit is complete and the system received an excellent report. Board Chairman Dempsey Golden agreed with Waters and congratulated finance director Bridget Welch and her staff on a job well-done.

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