It is one of the top five priorities for the Moss Point School District this year--reduce the dropout rate. A new initiative launched Thursday aims to do just that.
You tend to hear more about "high school dropouts". But Moss Point school leaders said the problem can start much earlier. So they traveled from school to school to kick-off the district's plan to change the dropout trend.
East Park Lower Elementary held a mini pep rally to get students pumped-up about going to school. Moss Point Schools Superintendent Dr. Maggie Griffin and other district leaders visited East Park and four other Moss Point schools Thursday to roll-out the district's "Dropout Prevention Initiative".
"We want you to take this very, very seriously. If you're not in school, you cannot learn. We need you here everyday, all day, so we can become an "A" district," said Dr. Sonja Robertson, Moss Points Schools Federal Programs Director.
The initiative stresses reinforcing positive behavior among students.
"All of us want that positive stroke and attention and many times they're going to get it, whether it's a positive or negative. We want the positive. So if we start early enough trying to reinforce those positive things, we think it's one of the things that are going to curb our dropout issue," said Griffin.
One example of that positive reinforcement is honoring students, who make all A's.
"That is what we want to show the students, the more successful you are and the harder you try, the better your chances are of graduation. That is our ultimate goal is to make sure our children stay in school and graduate," said Griffin.
Moss Point school leaders said the latest data shows the district's dropout rate is 23 percent. They want to reduce that rate by five percent this year.
"I would like to see our dropout rate is zero. That's what we're trying to do," said Griffin.
To help cheer on the students, a furry guest made a special appearance. PAWS the Tiger is the initiative's mascot. PAWS stands for "Prepared, Accountable, Well Behaved, and Safe".
Each school has to come up with its own strategy to push that positive behavior message. And each school has met with its staff, parents, and community leaders to explain the initiative.
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