Randolph County School Board examines dropout data, low-performing schools

ASHEBORO — The Randolph County Schools Board of Education met Monday, Oct. 16, with updates on various district items, including new data on dropout rates, a list of underperforming schools, and details on some received grants and a financial audit.

RCS had 111 dropouts for the 2021-22 school year, a decrease from the previous year.

“We report 7-12 grade dropouts,” said Executive Director of Administrative Services for Students Edwina Ashworth, noting that this data is for the 2021-2022 school year. “The school system as a whole was at 1.5% and the state as a whole was 1.54%.”

For the 2008-09 school year, by comparison, Randolph County was at a 5% dropout rate, while the state of North Carolina was at 4.5%. Randolph improved above the NC state average for 2021, but dropped down below again this year.

“It’s thanks to a lot of work from our student advocates and our social workers to collaborate, continue to find students and to provide students alternate opportunities to work with them so they won’t be a dropout,” Ashworth said. “I know this goes without saying but one is too many, it should be zero and we understand that.”

The board was presented with low-performing school designations from the state, with 12 schools designated as such.

“The Randolph County School System was notified by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction that 12 schools within our school system have been designated as low-performing schools,” said Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Cathy Waddell. “Schools designated as low-performing are: Eastern Randolph High School, Franklinville Elementary School, Liberty Elementary School, Northeastern Randolph Middle School, Ramseur Elementary School, Randleman Elementary School, Randleman Middle School, Southeastern Randolph Middle School, Southwestern Randolph High School, Trinity Elementary School, Trinity Middle School and Uwharrie Ridge Six-Twelve.”

The board was also updated on three grants that Randolph County Schools received. The first was a Donors Choose Grant for $435 for Randleman Middle School to provide a classroom set of math manipulatives for learning fractions. The second was a Thomas Tire Extra Mile Grant of $500 for Trinity High School to provide funding for classroom organization materials, lab supplies and writable surfaces. The third grant was a DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation Sports Matter Program Grant of $5,000 for Uwharrie Ridge Six-Twelve to provide funding to replace equipment in the school fitness center.

The board also reviewed the findings of its 2022-23 Audit Report, conducted by Anderson Smith & Wike PLLC, with a clean report and opinion from the auditors. According to Dennison, RCS increased its fund balance amount by about $2.5 million, ending the fiscal year with a total of around $9.6 million in fund balance.

The Randolph County Schools Board of Education will next meet Nov. 20.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal