The CMS dropout rate fell slightly last year, the district announced today.

About 5.91 percent of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools students quit during the 2007-2008 school year, down from 6.39 percent the previous year.

“The numbers (are) going in the right direction,” CMS Superintendent Peter Gorman said in a press statement. “But it’s also important to remember that 5.91 percent is 2,355 students…”

The district currently has about 134,060 students enrolled in grades K-12.

North Carolina overall saw a dropout rate last year of 4.97 percent.

CMS’ efforts to combat dropouts begin in elementary schools, where a K-3 reading program helps struggling students master basic skills. In middle and high schools, social workers and staff work to identify at-risk students.

A number of factors outside the schools can influence truancy and dropouts, Gorman said. They include poverty, homelessness, substance abuse, behavioral and mental health issues.

The district works with state and local social service groups to address many of those issues, officials said. It also tracks students who quit and attempts to lure them back.

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